Pubdate: Tue, 09 Apr 2013
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2013 Star Advertiser
Author: Pamela Lichty
Page: A8


Your story on the "death" of the marijuana decriminalization bill 
reveals continuing confusion about decriminalization versus 
legalization ("House abandons bill to decriminalize pot," 
StarAdvertiser, April 4).

The latter has been enacted (via voter initiative) in only two 
states, Washington and Colorado. It will include state taxation, 
regulation and control. Decriminalization would replace the criminal 
penalty for possessing small amounts of marijuana with a citation and fine.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro proclaims, "We don't have to be the ones to be 
first in line, spending enormous time, energy and money, and exposure 
of our young people in this untested area."

In actual fact, Hawaii would have been the 15th state to 
decriminalize marijuana - joining states like Ohio, Nebraska, and 
Mississippi. And youth usage in those states is stable or has even gone down.

One goal of decriminalization is preventing people from getting a 
permanent criminal record. It would save Hawaii millions of dollars 
and let law enforcement target violent crimes and dangerous drugs such as ice.

Pamela Lichty

President, Drug Policy Action Group
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom