Hawaii Bill to Study Drug Decriminalization Unanimously Approved by Senate Committee

hawaiiA 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.

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Drug Sentencing Reform Bill to Be Filed in Washington State

Legislation to remove felony charges for the personal possession of illegal substances will be prefiled in the Washington State Housesensiblewashington of Representatives next month by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D, 23rd District), according to the nonprofit organization Sensible Washington. The proposal, which will be identical to House Bill 2116 from the 2014 session, would defelonize personal drug possession, reducing the penalty from a felony, to a misdemeanor.

“Defelonizing personal drug possession is a smart, pragmatic approach to reducing the harms associated with the drug war”, says Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D, 46th District), who will cosponsor the bill. “The move would reduce incarceration, save the state millions of dollars, and prevent thousands of individuals from receiving a permanent and costly felony record.”

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