Los Angeles (AFP) - The US state of Hawaii decriminalized 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 marijuana 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 legalizing the drug.
"Unfortunately, three grams would be the smallest amount of any state that has decriminalized (or legalized) simple possession of marijuana," 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 decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.