House kills marijuana decriminalization bill

Rep. Rhoads: Not enough votes to pass proposal

Published  2:32 PM HST Apr 03, 2013
Marijuana Plant
HONOLULU -

The state House has killed a bill that would have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana.

The proposal was the last of several attempts to legalize or decriminalize the drug this year.

Rep. Karl Rhoads says there weren't enough votes to pass the proposal.

The state Senate approved the bill earlier this session. Advocates said the measure could help lighten the backlog in the state's criminal justice system.

Because Hawaii has a biennial Legislature, the House could take up the bill again next year.  But Rhoads says he doubts that it will have much of a chance given that it was such a moderate proposal.

The bill's death concludes weeks of debate over the drug in the Hawaii Legislature that attracted fervent testimony from both marijuana advocates and law enforcement officials.

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