Kyle Nishioka

Hawaii Resolution to Study Drug Decriminalization Passes Senate

Hawaii’s House and Senate have approved a resolution requesting that the Legislative Reference Bureau examine the potential impact of decriminalizing some drugs, including marijuana and marijuana concentrates, according to a report.

In addition to marijuana, the scope of the study would include Schedule III, IV and V drugs. Drugs such as heroin and ecstasy are Schedule I, along with cannabis, but will not be included in the research. Schedule II drugs, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, are also excluded.

The original version of the resolution introduced in the House included Schedule I and II drugs, however the version approved by the Senate limited the program to include only offenses pertaining  “to the illegal possession of a harmful drug, detrimental drug, marijuana or marijuana concentrate.”

The amended resolution will head back to the House, who passed the measure 37-7 last month, where it will need to be voted on again before it is official.

“We shall see what the House has to say about this, they wanted ALL drugs to be part of the study and it was their resolution,” Carl Bergquist of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i, told

In testimony to the House Committee of Judiciary, DPFHI wrote that decriminalizing drug possession for personal use would decrease the state’s prison population, treat drug addicts instead of incarceration, and free up law enforcement to deal with more “pressing issues.”

The study would be due later this year in order to be ready for the legislature’s 2017 session.

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