Hawaii and New Mexico Legislatures Consider Bills to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession

Committees in the Hawaii and New Mexico state legislatures recently approved bills that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana [HT: Tom Angell of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition]. Unfortunately, the bills would only decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Nonetheless, they would be a major change from the status quo. If the laws are enacted, these states would add to the momentum for legalization created by the recent passage of referendum initiatives legalizing marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Both public and elite opinion is gradually turning against the War on Drugs.

Obviously, even if these and other states legalize marijuana, it would remain illegal under federal law. But, as more and more states legalize marijuana, it will make it difficult for the federal government to continue the federal “war” against it, and possibly increase political pressure for repealing the federal ban entirely.

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