As marijuana legalization sweeps the U.S., Hawaii just became the 26thstate to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Under the new law – effective January 11, 2020 – possession of up to three grams of marijuana will no longer be punishable by jail time. Interesting to note, Democratic Gov. David Ige did not sign the bill, but he did miss the veto deadline, which allows the measure to become law.
The new legislation is a big change from Hawaii’s current law, which makes the possession of even a small amount of marijuana punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine of $1,000, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
While decriminalization is not the same as legalization, the news is still a powerful catalyst.
The news comes just weeks after Illinois legalized its use.
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law in June 2019, and will take effect Jan. 1, 2020. Under the new law, residents age 21 an older can now possess up to 30 grams of marijuana, five grams of concentrate, and 500 milligrams of THC in products such as edible marijuana. The law will now also wipe out the records of 800,000 folks with criminal records as a result of purchasing or possessing 30 grams or less of marijuana.
“Legalizing adult-use cannabis brings an important and overdue change to our state, and it’s the right thing to do,” Pritzker said, as quoted by ABC News. “This legislation will clear the cannabis-related records of nonviolent offenders through an efficient combination of automatic expungement, gubernatorial pardon and individual court action.”
However, this is just the start.
As more Americans become comfortable with cannabis and CBD related products, more states are very likely to jump on the bandwagon.
After all, according to The General Social Survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, 61% of those surveyed support legalization. That’s up from 57% in 2016. A Gallup survey found that 66% of Americans are in favor of legalization. That’s up from just 60% in 2016. A Pew survey found that 62% of Americans want to see cannabis legalization in the country, as compared to just 57% in 2015.
Those statistics are only proof that marijuana is here to stay.