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Does Hawaii have strict or lenient marijuana-related laws?

On Behalf of | Oct 13, 2023 | Criminal Law

Since Hawaii is considered a liberal state, many residents and visitors assume they can possess and use cannabis without consequence. Although the state does not have extremely harsh marijuana laws, the substance is not entirely legal.

Users of the drug should realize what may be at stake if law enforcement catches them with marijuana. Below is a brief outline of marijuana possession and distribution laws in our state.

Is marijuana legal for personal use?

The possession of cannabis for recreational use is unlawful. However, patients 18 and older may use medical marijuana legally upon a doctor’s recommendation. Without a medical marijuana card, you may not use or possess cannabis.

What are the penalties for possession?

If caught with less than three grams of weed, you may face a fine of up to $130. Possessing more than three grams but less than an ounce is generally a petty misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a fine. For possession convictions involving more than an ounce, you could face between one and five years of incarceration and fines from $2,000 to $10,000.

What are the penalties for distributing marijuana?

As you might imagine, selling cannabis is a more severe offense than possession. Even so, selling less than one ounce is only a misdemeanor in Hawaii. However, distributing large amounts (25 pounds or more) may result in felony charges punishable by up to 20 years of incarceration and tens of thousands in fines.

As you can see, the Aloha state has not yet embraced the concept of legal recreational cannabis use. That means your freedom and finances are at risk if charged with marijuana offenses. Legal guidance can help you safeguard your rights and explore your defense options.