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Ready to decriminalize marijuana? Contact your legislators now!

SB 472 is up for a floor vote in the House of Representatives VERY soon and we need EVERYONE to call or email their elected official in the House of Representatives TODAY and tell them to vote YES on SB 472.

SB 472 (known officially as SB 472, HD 1) has gone through many changes as it has worked its way down the legislative pipes.  As it is written right now (view the bill here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/Bills/SB472_HD1_.HTM), SB 472 would decriminalize marijuana in Hawai‘i by removing criminal penalties for possession of marijuana of 20 grams or less for adults 18 and over, and instead treat the matter with a fine of $100, like a parking ticket.

This updated proposal fixes the problems of the Senate version by reducing the fine back to $100 (instead of $1000), including ages 18 and up (instead of 21 and over), but it reduces the possession from one ounce (28 grams) to 20 grams.

Those under the age of 18, if caught possessing 20 grams or less of marijuana, would still be charged with a petty misdemeanor and could lose their driver’s license for up to one year. While this updated language around minors’ possession is not what we advocated for, SB 472 is a step in the right direction for marijuana policy reform in Hawai‘i for adults 18 and over.

We plan to use the next year to have more conversations with community members and elected officials to answer questions they have on minors’ use of marijuana and how this penalty is affecting it.

But to get to that conversation with elected officials and community members, we need to pass SB 472 through the Hawai‘i House of Representatives.  

If you do not know who your Representative is, the Hawai‘i State Legislature website has an easy way for you to find out.

1) Go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov

2) On the top right hand corner is a box that says “Find Your Legislator”.  Enter in your physical street name only (For instance, if you live on 123 Jones Street, Just enter in “Jones”).

3) Click “Go”.

4) Scroll down to find your Representative that corresponds with your street name and address number.

5) Click on the elected officials’ names to find the information for your legislator (office number or email address).

If you know who your elected official is, you can easily email them by entering in “Rep” and then their last name, followed by @capitol.hawaii.gov. So if Mickey Mouse was your Representative, then it would Repmouse@capitol.hawaii.gov.

This is one of the final hurdles for SB 472 and Hawaii’s marijuana policy change for 2013. I know it has been a long couple of months with a lot of debate not only at the Legislature, but also around Hawai‘i, in the newspapers, on TV, and around the kitchen tables.

This is the moment to show our Representatives that this bill has the support from the Hawai‘i community by telling them to VOTE YES on SB 472. Please pass this on to your friends, family members, and colleagues and get them to support SB 472 as well.  Every call/email helps move this bill forward so the discussion can continue.

Again, mahalo for all your efforts thus far in reforming Hawaii’s marijuana policies.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me!

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