Hawaii marijuana pardons eyed following Biden’s landmark federal announcement

President Biden said no one should be in jail for just using or possessing the drug.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:30 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 5:47 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. David Ige is reviewing Hawaii’s marijuana laws after the White House announced pardons for thousands of Americans convicted on simple possession charges.

It’s a major step for the administration in decriminalizing marijuana.

President Biden said no one should be in jail for just using or possessing the drug.

Since his pardon authority resides at the federal level, he’s asking governors to take similar action when it comes to state marijuana crimes.

Hawaii has historically been very liberal on marijuana possession convictions.

Retired federal public defender Alexander Silvert says in his 30 years of practicing law in Hawaii, he only saw about 20-30 federal possession cases.

However, he did say the pardons will help those who have a conviction on their record.

“As long as they don’t have any other criminal record, it will make it easier for them to find employment because you don’t have to put down you were arrested and convicted of a crime,” Silvert explained.

“If you are a contractor who does work on military land or on federal property, it’s going to make it easier to do business because again, you won’t have to say you were convicted of a crime.”

Ige has not indicated what action he’ll take.

His office released this statement:

“The governor supports measures that align state and federal laws on this issue and is reviewing the president’s request to determine whether it is consistent with state law and in the best interests of the people of Hawaii.”

City Prosecutor Steve Alm says that while the decision to pardon rests with the governor, he is willing to work with him to determine whether the pardons impact public safety.