One Hawaii Medical Pot Bill Still Rolling
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One Hawaii Medical Pot Bill Still Rolling
Posted by CN Staff on March 31, 2011 at 16:00:46 PT
News Story
Source: Maui Time Weekly
Wailuku -- Hawaii has had a medical marijuana law on the books since 2000—but that's still all we have. While states like California and Colorado have set up successful (and lucrative) dispensaries, Hawaii patients are forced to either grow their own medicine or buy it on the black market. There are a number of reasons for this, but eight years under Republican Gov. Linda Lingle—who blasted the medical law, vetoed efforts to expand and improve it and hid behind federal prohibition—didn't help.
To borrow a phrase from Gov. Neil Abercrombie, it's a new day, and this legislative session featured a handful of medical pot bills. Most have gone up in smoke, but the one that's still rolling may be the most important: SB1458, introduced by Maui Senator Kalani English, would set up "a comprehensive five-year medical marijuana distribution pilot program in an unspecified county" (an earlier version of the bill specified Maui County)."I took this up because I saw people who were suffering, sometimes in the last months of their life. And they were asking, 'Where can I get my medicine?'" says English. He adds that he had to "make the bill dripping with money" to give it broad appeal in these lean economic times.Naturally, dispensaries (or "compassion centers") would be taxed, but the bill has other provisions, including allowing visiting patients from states with medical marijuana laws to purchase a $100 temporary permit, good for the duration of their stay (pot tourism, anyone?).The bill cleared the Senate and is currently moving through the House. English says he thinks it has a "really good chance of passing," though he admits it's been an arduous process. It's gone through many revisions, and some changes—such as reducing the scope from a statewide system to an isolated pilot program and forcing dispensaries to make a complete patient list available to law enforcement at any time "without notice"—have pot advocates up in arms.English emphasizes that the bill isn't finalized, and says anything that's been added or removed is still open for discussion. "Everything's on the table," he says.Of course, the bill has staunch opponents as well—and not just in the legislature. Last month, at the behest of Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta, on-duty MPD officers handed out anti-marijuana pamphlets outside WalMart in Kahului. English says MPD overstepped its bounds. "Their job is to enforce the laws that exist, not to pass out propaganda trying to change the law," he says. "It seems like law enforcement is trying to suppress what many citizens would deem OK."Though SB1458 is the only legislation that looks to have a chance this session, English says other bills—dealing with questions like how much marijuana a patient can possess, and whether oversight of the law should be transferred from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health—can be revived next year. "Keep writing your representatives," he says, "and letting them know this is an important issue for you, and for Hawaii."Source: Maui Time Weekly (Wailuku, HI)Published: March 31, 2011Copyright: 2011 Maui Time WeeklyContact: editor mauitime.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #2 posted by konagold on April 01, 2011 at 12:30:16 PT
my testimony in conditional support:
my testimony in conditional support:Conference room: 325
Testifier position: support
Testifier will be present: No
Submitted by: Rev. Dennis ShieldsSubmitted on: 3/22/2011Alohatho I support dispensary’s to cover the unfulfilled need of folks who immediately need medicinal Cannabis the current bill is flawed I urge the committee to correct the following and only then pass the bill:What the current (House) version does and my objections to these provisions:1. Reducing its scope to only include licensure for one compassion care center on the island of Maui as a five-year pilot program;this is mistaken as the majority of patients are on the Big Island and this does not help folks on the most populous island Oahu2. Allocating all fees collected to the County of Maui;again the majority of patients are on the Big Island and this, unfairly, does not allocate the funds where they are most needed3. Requiring all food and other consumables sold on licensed premises to be regulated by DOH and the federal Food and Drug Administration;this is over kill as cannabis is a safe herb whose seed is the worlds most perfect food for human nutrition and this requirement will eliminate the major way to ingest Cannabis without also ingesting the by-products of combustion4. Prohibiting medication from the compassion care center from being transported out of Maui County;this does not help patients on either Oahu or the Big Island who can not grow in their time of needPlease correct this bill and then help patients by passing itAlohaRev. Dennis Shields
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 31, 2011 at 23:39:01 PT
Calvina Fay, Executive Director, Drug Free America Foundation (remember Fay?)wrote a letter about this issue to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. US HI: LTE: Pot Dispensaries Are Camel's Nose In Tent Pubdate: Sun, 27 Mar 2011This letter followed on Pubdate: Tue, 29 Mar 2011US HI: PUB LTE: 'Drug Expert' Just a Prohibitionist?Is Calvina Fay a drug policy expert or simply a cannabis ( marijuana ) prohibitionist ( "Pot dispensaries are camel's nose in tent," Star-Advertiser, Letters, March 27 )? As a Colorado resident who supported legalizing cannabis for sick citizens, my observation is very different. Dispensaries being "tied to organized crime gangs" is a false claim. Dispensaries are legitimate businesses that have contributed millions of much-needed dollars in tax money. More than 50 percent of Colorado residents continue to support medical use of cannabis. In fact, roughly 50 percent of Colorado voters support completely legalizing the relatively safe, extremely popular, God-given plant. In November 2012, we'll know if it's more than 50 percent. Fay doesn't speak for Coloradoans and I suspect she doesn't speak for compassionate Hawaii citizens either.
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