House and Senate lawmakers have finalized and passed legislation, House Bill 1383, decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession offenses and vacating past convictions. The legislation now awaits action from Democratic Gov. David Ige.
The measure reduces penalties involving the possession of up to three grams of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine and a criminal record, to a non-criminal violation – punishable by a $130 fine.
It also provides a mechanism for the courts to grant an expungement order for those previously convicted of a marijuana possession offense involving no more than three grams.
The measure also establishes a task force to review cannabis policy and to make recommendations to the legislature by 2021.
If signed, the new law takes effect on January 11, 2020.
To date, 23 states and the District of Columbia have either legalized or decriminalized (eliminated the possibility of jail time) the adult possession and personal use of marijuana.