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Marijuana news from around the world

Hawaii Senate Votes to Decriminalize Marijuana


New states seem to be joining the marijuana reform movement on a regular basis.  Last week we discussed that several states, including Maine and Maryland, are considering drastic changes to their marijuana laws.  This week another state joined the conversation.

The Hawaii Senate has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana.  The bill will now have to go before Hawaii House members.  If passed by the House, the bill will decriminalize possession marijuana up to one ounce.  For those charged with possession of less than one ounce, they will receive a civil citation and a $1,000 fine.  The fine was included in the bill because lawmakers wanted to stress that marijuana is still illegal.  A bill to legalize recreational marijuana was rejected several weeks ago by Hawaii lawmakers.

Hawaii state Senator, Clayton Hee, stated that the change in the law was not to legalize marijuana, but rather, an attempt to reduce the backlog of marijuana cases awaiting trial.  If the bill passes it is expected to save Hawaii taxpayers money that would normally be allocated toward arrest, incarcerations, and trials.  New Mexico lawmakers have also passed a similar bill, but former prosecutor and current Governor, Susana Martinez, has indicated that she is against relaxing any drug laws.

As economic struggles continue in America, there may be many other states that decide to re-consider how they allocate tax dollars.  This week we are starting to feel the effects of sequestration.  Unless Congress comes to an agreement soon, the sequestration cuts will have an even greater impact on our economy.  There may be no better time for activists to make the financial case for marijuana reform.

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