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Hawaii Senate Votes Unanimously to Decriminalize Marijuana

Hawaii's State Capitol.

Hawaii’s State Capitol.

In an applaud-worthy and eye-opening showing of unity, Hawaii’s Senate voted today, unanimously, to approve Senate Bill 472 to decriminalize cannabis possession. The measure would make possession of up to an ounce no longer an arrestable misdemeanor offense, but instead a civil infraction of no more than $1,000.

Last week the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, also unanimously. The bill is sponsored by 13 of the state’s 25 senators.

The bill now moves to the state’s House, where its passage would send it to the governor’s office.

Recent polling shows that 58% of residents in the state support decriminalizing cannabis, while 57% support regulating and taxing it.

- TheJointBlog

11 comments

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  1. Anna Burns

    This is a must for all states. We have too many people in prison and its costing the tax payer so much needed money for other things !

    1. Michael

      No Anna. Private prisons in the US make money for every inmate they take in, through the profits of their labour.

      See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrections_Corporation_of_America (amongst others).

      1. Mike

        Profits are made, but not by the state and population in general. Private Prison work is near minimum wage productivity compared with the ~$50,000 per year per inmate costs (prison labor is only a thing because minimum wage does not apply to prisoners). The work helps private prisons offset their costs, but we’re still losing out in general. This does not even consider the costs in human liberty and human suffering and that those people might actually contribute to a free society rather than falling in with prison gangs.

      2. Smarter Michael

        No Michael, the externalities associated with having an excessive amount of people in prison greatly outweighs the money made by these private prisons. Not all prisons are private prisons either. Private prisons provide little to no rehabilitation to inmates and have an incentive (profit) to maintain high occupancy (which they achieve through lobbying for cancerous policies and legislation). Yes, these prisons can make money, but no this money they make does not alleviate the unnecessary burden/cost the tax payer bears due to the failed war on drugs.

      3. john

        Michael, they put money into the pockets of the prison owners. This does nothing for the tax payers. The state also pays the prisons to take inmates.

      4. Corrections

        The prison making money does not mean it does not cost the taxpayer money. Some of that money may come from the tax payer (e.g. the government paying the prison for providing a cell). There are other costs for prison as well, such as public defenders, parole hearings, probation officers for released inmates, etc.

        Just because the prison makes money doesn’t mean WE aren’t paying for it.

  2. Evan

    WAIT! The bill states that it will take effect on JULY 1ST of the year 2050!!! Be wary!!!

  3. Al Green

    About time.

  4. John Stahlbaum

    “The measure would make possession of up to an ounce no longer an arrestable misdemeanor offense, but instead a civil infraction of no more than $1,000.”
    Great political Twist to this one!
    Having an ounce worth 100 or 200 bucks in your pocket will not be a criminal offense anymore.
    But instead it will be a civil fine of up to $1000.oo
    And take the kids ounce because they cannot give a fine without taking the ounce.
    So the government gets a free ounce and up to 10 times the money.
    Does not sound like de-criminalization to me but instead they are making a very hefty cash cow.
    Sounds a lot more like Political Criminals filling bank accounts!

  5. Bik

    It takes effect in 2050? What a joke! The people who have been charged earlier cannot use this law to clear their records. Oh, the government is saying that we were not wrong before but it has to stay on our record because the government don’t want to admit their mistake.

    Wake up people! It’s about time to throw these old politicians out.

  6. Mark

    Am I the only one that noticed the votes couldnt be 58% and 57% because that wouldn’t make 100%?

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