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Hawaii decriminalises cannabis

File photo of cannabis plant

The US state of Hawaii decriminalised possession of small amounts of cannabis on Tuesday, joining two dozen other US states that have adopted similar measures.

Under the new law, anyone with up to three grams of cannabis faces a $130 penalty but the possibility of 30 days in jail for even a tiny amount of the drug, and a fine of up to $1,000, has been removed.

The state's Democrat-controlled legislature approved the new bill in May and sent it to Governor David Ige for final approval.

Ige did not sign it but he did not veto it either, effectively letting the bill, which comes into effect on January 11, 2020, become law on Tuesday.

Advocacy groups welcomed the move even though they said it did not go far enough toward legalising the drug.

"Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalised (or legalised) simple possession of cannabis," the Marijuana Policy Project said in a statement.

"Still, removing criminal penalties and possible jail time for possession of a small amount of cannabis is an improvement."

Currently, 24 other states as well as Washington DC have passed laws decriminalising or legalising cannabis.

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