A month after being approved 37 to 7 by the full Hawaii House of Representatives, a bill to establish a study on the decriminalization of all drugs has been approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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.” Researchers will examine Portugal’s model of drug decriminalization, with the study to be finished and presented to the legislature by the end of the year.
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.
HCR 127 now moves towards a full Senate vote, where its passage will send it to Governor David Ige for final consideration.