Hawaii’s cannabis decriminalization law to be effectuated on January 1, 2020

A bill to legalize cannabis for recreational cannabis consumption was rejected by Gov. Ige earlier this year

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Hawaii’s cannabis decriminalization law to be effectuated on January 1, 2020

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Hawaii has long been desired as a surfer’s paradise and culture-rich vacation spot, but now it is also emerging as a hotspot for cannabis consumption. The tropical volcanic archipelago entices some 10 million tourists on an annual basis; a figure that is likely to rise as of January 1, 2020, when cannabis possession will be officially decriminalized in the sublime U.S. territory.  

When Hawaii lawmakers made the decision to decriminalize the green plant’s possession, Hawaii became the 26th U.S. state to pass such a law. No longer will island-inhabiting citizens be punished for possession, so long as they do not have more than three grams of cannabis on their person.

No other state has ever decriminalized such a small amount of weed. Although fines will still be used as a form of punishment, individuals caught in possession of small amounts of cannabis will not be forced to pay more than $130.

Described as a “very tough call” by Hawaii’s Democratic Gov. David Ige, the decision to decriminalize cannabis was not an easy one. Gov. Ige says he was in two minds about decriminalization before he finally made the decision to approve House Bill 1383.

Hawaii Governor previously rejected recreational cannabis legalization bill

The people of Hawaii were extremely close to getting their paws on regulated pot for adult-use consumption earlier in the year when a bill to legalize cannabis for recreational cannabis consumption was rejected by Gov. Ige.

Until this changes, anyone caught in possession of an ounce (or less) of cannabis will be slammed with a fine of up to $1,000. The latest law that decriminalizes the cannabis plant in small amounts is equivalent to .11 of an ounce; significantly less than the minimum punishable amount. 

“Essentially [law enforcement officials] will proceed the way they always have,” the governor said in regards to Hawaii’s soon-to-be enacted cannabis decriminalization law.

Medical cannabis was legalized in Hawaii back in the year 2000

Lawmakers haven’t plucked the decision to decriminalize cannabis in Hawaii out of thin air; it has been a long time coming. Legislation has spread across 33 U.S. states for medical purposes and 11 for recreational purposes.

Included in the long list of states that have legalized weed for medical purposes is Hawaii, where legalization went into effect back in the year 2000. Despite the fact that medical cannabis in Hawaii has been legalized for the past 19 years, dispensaries only started selling pharmaceutical-grade cannabis two years ago. 

Hawaii’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened its doors in August of 2017, while the island’s second dispensary in Kailua-Kona began ushering in customers at the end of June. Analysts predict the industry could be worth $166.3 million by the year 2025.