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Hawaii Governor Backs Decriminalizing Small Amounts Of Pot

Katherine Hitt

HONOLULU — Hawaii's governor will support a state bill to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, a report said.

Democratic Gov. David Ige will allow the measure to eliminate criminal penalties for possession of 3 grams (0.11 ounces) or less of marijuana, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Monday.

The measure scheduled to take effect Jan. 11, 2020, will make possession of those small amounts punishable only by fines of no more than $130.

The decision was "a very tough call" on which Ige went back and forth before ultimately deciding in favor of decriminalization by supporting House Bill 1383, he said.

Ige previously opposed bills this year that would have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

The governor also sought provisions to help to steer young people using marijuana into treatment programs dealing with substance abuse issues, he said.

Lawmakers declined to include the treatment program language in the new bill.

Law enforcement officials told Ige 3 grams is a small enough amount that "essentially they will proceed the way they always have," he said.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers.
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