Governor Candidate Guilty on Marijuana Charges

Governor Candidate Guilty on Marijuana Charges
Posted by CN Staff on June 26, 2002 at 22:12:01 PT
By Rod Thompson
Source: Star-Bulletin
Jonathan Adler, religious marijuana user and Natural Law Party candidate for governor, has been found guilty of commercial promotion of marijuana. Adler, 50, was charged with possessing 89 marijuana plants and marijuana paraphernalia in 1998. Adler contended that religious freedom under the Constitution allows him to use marijuana. In handing down a written verdict yesterday, Judge Greg Nakamura noted that Adler is a reverend in the Religion of Jesus Church and that Adler sincerely believes in the church.
Nakamura also noted that the church requires its believers to use marijuana at least once a year, usually on Aug. 21, which they believe to be the true birthday of Jesus.But Nakamura said Adler had provided no evidence during a one-day, nonjury trial in January that the church requires Adler to engage in commercial promotion of marijuana. Possession of more than 50 marijuana plants is considered evidence of a commercial activity.The state has a "compelling interest" in controlling commercial marijuana, Nakamura ruled.Nakamura made no ruling on simple possession of small quantities of marijuana for religious use, since that was not an issue in Adler's case. The state has not established any amount of marijuana which might be permitted for religious use.Adler has a state medical marijuana card, which allows him to have up to seven marijuana plants for medical use. Adler says he uses marijuana to treat his asthma.The judge set sentencing for Aug. 26 and required Adler to report to the local probation office by Friday.A jury trial of Adler on the same charges last year ended with a hung jury.Adler still faces separate charges related to allegedly possessing 55 marijuana plants in 1999.Adler filed nomination papers April 1 to run for governor as a candidate for the Natural Law Party. He previously had sought to run as a member of the Green Party, but was rejected by party leadership."When he is sentenced for that felony crime, he cannot run" for office under state law, said Rex Quidilla, spokesman for the state Office of Elections. "Our office will be monitoring the situation."Neither Adler, nor his Natural Law running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Daniel Morimoto, could be reached for comment.Complete Title: Big Isle Governor Candidate Guilty on Marijuana ChargesSource: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)Author: Rod ThompsonPublished: Wednesday, June 26, 2002Copyright: 2002 Honolulu Star-BulletinContact: letters starbulletin.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute Proponent Finds Party for Governor Run Faces New Marijuana Charges
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Comment #2 posted by Rev Jonathan Adler on June 28, 2002 at 23:30:44 PT:
Give Up; No Way!
Thanks Paul and yes I am still free. It is unthinkable that a Judge would incarcerate me, so I will be asking for a stay of sentence pending appeal. The lack of harm was obvious, except the harm to me, by a pre-judicial decision. His mind was made up that he would not let me win this case, and he did a Judge's priviledge . In other words, he saw what he wanted to and no more. Luckily, some justice will prevail and my apeal will be successful. I am still running for Governor. I will not quit. Also I am still a card carrying State Registered cultivator and user of Peace
Rev. Jonathan Adler
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Institute
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Comment #1 posted by paul peterson on June 26, 2002 at 23:48:06 PT:
This looks like a serious loss for advocacy, but in reality this is a qualified win. 1) First, the judge specifically stayed away from the "simple possession" charge, in that the 1978 Hawaii Constitution provides A) for private, personal use and possession of pot in the home, B) the state must show a "compelling" state interest to restrict religious practices & C) the state legislature has decreed that there is no compelling state interest to prohibit "medical use" (by legalizing that). Therefore, "simple possession" & personal use is tacitly ALLOWED for RELIGIOUS PURPOSES. 2) Second, the ruling is consistent with that Rasti' case decided by the 9th Circuit (from Guam) where "religious" use was said to be allowed in federal territory, but not the "importation" or transportation (or commercial sale of same, by implication).
3) The court noted that over 50 plants "presumes" commercial "intent", which does not sound like this is without valid discretion.  Of course, until something more is done (federally, with statute, etc.), the "Commerce Clause" will certainly be the limiting factor for all cases henceforth and will necessarily dictate what people in valid jurisdictions can and will do for MM patients (and for religious uses and programs as wel). It appears now that in light of 1) Peyote case law heritage, where the state has any personal "exemption" from a statutory prohibition, "religious" use cannot be discrimitorily treated (in other words, so as to "medical use, so would be treated "religous" use, etc. 2) with the Rasti' case, that has been extended to pot use, etc. (a reasonable expansion of the doctrine from Native American Peyote!). 3) this Hawaii case does give us good dicta then! 4) I'm thinkin the 1999 arrest might have been for mere "personal" use, which means that case might well fill in the blanks left only to dicta in this case? The rule of law:  Where you want to exercise your valid "religous" rights, 1) don't run afoul of the "quantity" set by your jurisdiction, and 2) don't let anybody implicate you in a "commercial" trap, thusly triggering a prosecution that is outside of your valid "religious" freedom (unless you can argue with a straight face that your "religion" requires commercial sales, etc.) I would say, give it away, and charge a gate fee (donations, etc.?).Bottom line: The judge appears to have made a well reasoned decision (even though we don't like to see an advocate of this stature lose his freedom, of course). With Adler's religious & medical marijuana "exemptions", I would expect the judge to be rather lenient with sentencing (mitigating factors?: he is well known as a provider of MM for sick patients, which obviates the onerousness of his so-called "commercial distribution charge")- being unfamiliar with Hawaii law, I can't even guess what the range would be.THANKS TO JON ADLER FOR HIS STRONG ADVOCACY AND PREEMINENCE IN THE MOVEMENT, MEDICAL, RELIGIOUS AND MARIJUANA IN GENERAL. This case decision will echo forth into many other states, especially since Terry Hillinan (DA for SF & mayoral candidate) has already stated that there is a "religous freedom" involved in marijuana use, etc.  Our prayers and thoughts will follow Jon Adler, even though it appears not to the Governor's office in Hawaii! PAUL PETERSON 312-558-9999
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