Hawaii’s House of Representatives voted 44 to 6 yesterday to pass a bill that would study the potential decriminalization of drug possession. The measure has already been passed by the full Senate; it does not need approval from the governor to take effect, as it’s a concurrent resolution
HCR 127 directs the state’s Legislative Research Bureau to “conduct a study on the feasibility and advisability of decriminalizing the illegal possession of drugs for personal use in Hawaii” so that it would “constitute an administrative or civil violation rather than a criminal offense.” Unfortunately the bill was amended in the Senate so that the study will only examine the potential decriminalization of offenses that “pertain to the illegal possession of a harmful drug, detrimental drug, marijuana or marijuana concentrate.” This dis-includes most Schedule 1 and 2 drugs such as psilocybin, LSD and cocaine.
In Portugal, the personal possession of all drugs has been decriminalized for nearly 15 years, and the results have been a resounding success. According to a report by the Cato Institute, not only has drug usage rates declined in the country since decriminalization, addiction rates, overdose deaths and STDs are down drastically.