Pot-Eradication Program Axed 

Pot-Eradication Program Axed 
Posted by CN Staff on May 18, 2007 at 16:57:43 PT
By Jason Armstrong, Tribune-Herald Staff Writer
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald
Hawaii -- Hawaii County's controversial pot-eradication program is going up in smoke.Responding to citizen complaints of privacy intrusions and alleged police harassment, the County Council voted 5-4 Wednesday against spending $582,000 for "Green Harvest" helicopter operations.
"I just think it's time to stop this marijuana war," said Ka'u Councilman Bob Jacobson, a longtime critic of the eradication program.Voting against the program were Jacobson, Hamakua Councilman Dominic Yagong, South Kona Councilwoman Brenda Ford, Puna Councilwoman Emily Naeole, and Hilo Councilman Stacy Higa.Hilo council members J Yoshimoto and Donald Ikeda joined Chairman Pete Hoffmann of Kohala and North Kona Councilman Angel Pilago in voting to continue funding the pot raids.The swing vote was cast by Higa, who expressed reservations about turning down the federal grants."We've always accepted the money," Assistant Police Chief James Day told lawmakers. The program started more than 20 years ago.All three grantsinclude money to rent private helicopters that police use to search for pot plants, Day said. Another portion pays for informant information and to buy drugs, he said."It's going to curtail our activities as far as eradication of marijuana," he said when asked by Higa what would happen if lawmakers refuse the grants.Council members voted to remove the money from next fiscal year's operating budget. That action won't be final, however, until lawmakers again vote to approve the countywide budget and send it to Mayor Harry Kim to consider signing into law.That second vote is expected at the council's June 1 meeting in Hilo.The county hasn't received the money, but had expected to get the grants so the funding is included of the proposed countywide budget that starts July 1, Deanna Sako, county controller, told lawmakers.The "Green Harvest" money can still be added later, should lawmakers reverse course and accept the eradication grants, she added.Getting future grants will now be harder since that money will be shifted to other states, Day said.The council's vote won't stop the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from conducting helicopter raids, Prosecutor Jay Kimura told lawmakers."Whether the council accepts the money or not, eradication would continue," Kimura said, noting marijuana is illegal under federal law.That prompted Ikeda to vote against rejecting the money, which he added cannot be shifted to combat crystal methamphetamine, a drug known locally as "ice.""It's not like we're ignoring 'ice' and only concentrating on marijuana," Ikeda said.Yagong argued that it's time to look at other eradication methods besides using helicopters. Wednesday marked the first time Yagong voted against the program in his more than six years on the council.But Yagong cautioned that ending local "Green Harvest" raids may not help the situation."It may get worse," he said.Naeole said the program "terrorizes" people."I've gone through it myself," the lifelong Puna resident said.Yoshimoto, an attorney, said he needs to uphold the law, which criminalizes marijuana for non-medical use.Hoffmann used the same argument in voting against rejecting the funding.Lawmakers voted after listening to nearly 50 people speak on the subject. Nearly all urged council members to halt the "Green Harvest" program.Program opponents talked about helicopter noise and prop wash scaring livestock, overturning tents, and disturbing their sleep. Others said smoking pot has reduced their pain and made life more enjoyable."Why are they flying over my house at 7 o'clock in the morning when I would like to be resting until maybe 7:30?" asked Hawaiian Acres resident Kena Slaughter-Miyamoto."Marijuana helps people," she added. "It helped my dad when he was paralyzed."Star Newland also urged lawmakers to end the program."Please zero out 'Green Harvest,'" she said. "Please listen to what the people say. Move accordingly and vote accordingly."The standing-room-only crowd applauded when Hoffmann announced the funding had been rejected.Some of those people were later overheard talking about a party to celebrate the council's historic vote.Note: County Council votes against funding for 'Green Harvest' helicopter operations.Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)Author: Jason Armstrong, Tribune-Herald Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, May 17, 2007Copyright: 2007 Hawaii Tribune HeraldContact: letters hawaiitribune-herald.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #3 posted by museman on May 19, 2007 at 09:28:41 PT
prime simplicity
"Marijuana helps people," she added.The Federal Government harrasses, persecutes, asssaults, murders, imprisons, and destroys people."Marijuana (cannabis)= good.""Federal Government = bad."
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Comment #2 posted by Wayne on May 18, 2007 at 19:01:22 PT
but wait!!!
I'm surprised I didn't see the chief saying something to this effect:'These "cut-and-run" city council members just don't get it, do they?? I mean, if they give up the war on marijuana and just leave, the marijuana will follow them home!!!'
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Comment #1 posted by RevRayGreen on May 18, 2007 at 18:17:19 PT
Time has come today.........
"I just think it's time to stop this marijuana war," said Ka'u Councilman Bob Jacobson, a longtime critic of the eradication program
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