Big Island Rejects Federal Funds for War on Pot

Big Island Rejects Federal Funds for War on Pot
Posted by CN Staff on May 19, 2007 at 06:12:01 PT
By Rod Thompson
Source: Star-Bulletin 
Hilo, Hawaii -- With Hawaii County Councilman Bob Jacobson calling for an end to the "marijuana war," the Council rejected three federal grants totaling $582,000 for marijuana eradication.That could mark the end of 30 years of "Green Harvest" eradication efforts by Hawaii County police. But there was no certainty. A second vote must be taken before the money can be removed from the county's 2007-2008 budget.
And the Council has rejected federal eradication money before, voting against it in 2000 but resuming acceptance in 2001.Hilo: The Hawaii County Council voted this week to remove $582,000 of federal anti-marijuana money from the county's 2007-2008 budget.The move could be the end of 30 years of so-called Green Harvest eradication missions, or it could be a signal that the program will survive, but with a major face lift."I'm stoked," said marijuana legalization advocate Roger Christie. "It's the beginning of the end of cannabis eradication."But Councilman Stacy Higa, who cast a lukewarm vote to keep the money out of the budget, said the action was a technicality that will lead to more discussion.With the Council split 4-4, Higa twice voted "kanalua," a Hawaiian word meaning "undecided." By law, two such votes are counted as a "yes" vote.But the kanalua votes also signaled that Higa might change his vote later.Another vote is needed June 1 before the budget is approved for the mayor's signature.The county accepts grants from a variety of agencies, Higa said. The eradication grants are the only ones placed directly in the budget at the beginning of the fiscal year, he said.With their removal from the budget, the Police Department would have to come to the Council later and give a detailed justification of the eradication program, he said.Higa said he has heard countless stories of police helicopters hovering over people's homes and officers rappelling down ropes into people's yards."I believe in due process," he said. After marijuana is spotted from the air, "I want to see a search warrant. Send in a ground crew," he said.Councilman Dominic Yagong voted against placing the federal money in the budget, saying he would like to see a one-year moratorium on helicopter-based eradication.That was an about-face for Yagong, who voted for anti-marijuana money in 1997, saying his constituents were for it."Back then, there was zero talk of 'ice' (crystal methamphetamine)," he said. "Things have certainly changed with hard drugs."One of his own family members had his life ruined by methamphetamine, he said.Federal eradication money cannot be switched to fight hard drugs, but police staffing can be freed up from not fighting marijuana, he said.Council Chairman Pete Hoffmann voted for the money. "Police have a hard enough time trying to enforce the laws," he said. "I don't want to strip the capability from them."The police were surprised by the move. Assistant Chief James Day said the chief and deputy chief were off island, and he was called to testify Wednesday after dozens of marijuana advocates were well into several hours of testimony against the money, he said.The first eradication, and the only one officially called Green Harvest, was in 1978. It was a time when marijuana growers, some of them Vietnam War veterans, were carrying weapons, setting up combat-style booby traps, even shooting at telephone workers putting up wires.By the 1990s, councilmembers were having doubts about the helicopter missions. In 2000 they voted against accepting $265,000 in federal eradication funds, two-thirds of the program's money that year. But the following year, they accepted the full amount offered.Note: The Green Harvest 'no' vote by the Hawaii County Council is not final.Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)Author: Rod ThompsonPublished: May 18, 2007Copyright: 2007 Honolulu Star-BulletinContact: letters starbulletin.comWebsite: Article & Web Site:THC Ministry Pot-Eradication Program Axed -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on May 20, 2007 at 12:19:14 PT
Max any idea on how much CAMP costs a year
Comment #10 posted by FoM on May 20, 2007 at 07:32:29 PT 
SFC: Pot -- Pro and Con 
Sunday, May 20, 2007Your April 22 package of marijuana stories was thoughtful and well done. Despite a couple of minor glitches (like leaving those silly Drug Enforcement Administration claims about wild increases in potency unrefuted), this was some of the best, most balanced coverage of marijuana issues I've seen. Your stories raise an obvious question: Why is this large and thriving industry still consigned to the shadows? Given that marijuana clearly has medical benefits for some, and as a recreational drug is far less dangerous to one's health than alcohol, why not bring it out of the criminal underground, tax it and put it into a properly regulated system? California cannot end federal government idiocy by itself, but it can end its own. Each year our state wastes millions of dollars on a futile "marijuana eradication" drive called the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting. CAMP hasn't eradicated California's No. 1 cash crop, but it has caused great harm by driving growers into more remote, dangerous and environmentally sensitive locations. It's time for some serious rethinking. Bruce Mirken Director of communications Marijuana Policy Project Washington, D.C.
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on May 20, 2007 at 11:58:24 PT
Aloha Dennis
Does Hawai'i have true statehood or is it a territory and possession of the U.S.? If it has state sovereignty, why don't the leadership of the state simply tell the feds not to run those kinds of ops? I know, easier said than done, but it strikes me that there is legal process for these things, if there is the will to assert it.It sounds weird, that the feds give a grant that the state uses to, what, turn around and give the money back to the feds to "pay them" to run the Green Harvest ops? How does that work? And if the state rejects the grant, would the feds really go ahead and run the ops in a "hostile" environment (i.e. when they know they aren't wanted there, even by the local authorities)?It's so blatantly obvious that if they shifted all that pot-fighting money into fighting "ice", then 99% of people would appreciate what they are doing instead of hating them. Why are they so stupid about these matters?In truth I suspect it's not stupidity actually but greed. The people who lease the helicopters, the people who fly them, the people who sell gas for the helicopters, the people who sell the rapelling gear, the cops who get paid the overtime to swing the machetes, are all hooked on the money and can't stop, it's such easy money. The greedy bastards.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on May 20, 2007 at 05:38:49 PT
Marijuana-Busting Funds Deleted 
By Kevin Dayton, Advertiser Big Island BureauMay 20, 2007 
HILO, Hawai'i -- The marijuana eradication program on the Big Island hit a political bump when the County Council voted to delete funding for the program from the county budget, but the council isn't likely to end the anti-drug program.The council voted 5-4 Wednesday to remove $582,000 in federal eradication funding from the budget for the year beginning July 1. Money for the program would be formally excluded from the spending plan if the council approves the amended budget in a second vote on June 1.However, Councilman Stacy Higa said he actually supports the eradication program, and only voted to remove funding for it from the $359 million county budget for technical reasons. He said he expects the eradication spending request will be re-submitted to the council shortly in a resolution separate from the budget.Higa said he has always supported eradication and wants the program to continue, but wants police to brief the council on the anti-marijuana effort so the public can hear the law enforcement side of the debate.Much of the discussion before the council in recent years has focused on complaints from residents angry at eradication helicopters flying over their homes, and "I want to hear the police side of those situations," Higa said.Snipped:Complete Article:
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Comment #5 posted by Sam Adams on May 19, 2007 at 13:21:53 PT
pigs feeding from the trough
"Higa said he has heard countless stories of police helicopters hovering over people's homes and officers rappelling down ropes into people's yards."Ah-ha! This must be one of the freedoms we have that cause the terrorists to hate us, right? The freedom the police have to attack your home, I think that's the one Dick Cheney is talking about.
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Comment #4 posted by mayan on May 19, 2007 at 13:18:42 PT
"Green Harvest" Failed
That could mark the end of 30 years of "Green Harvest" eradication efforts by Hawaii County police.After 30 years, is there any shortage of bud in Hawaii? Just how much money was spent in futility? 
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Comment #3 posted by konagold on May 19, 2007 at 12:26:04 PT:
half measures
AlohaThe problem with this is that the fed's might take over In which case med pot patients would have no protection as the DEA will not be swayed by state lawA better solution would be to allow the county to run the program with explicit instructions forbidding residential over flightsI filed a police commission complaint on the home invasion we underwent on 9-15-2006 for our legal med pot, as Hawaii County rules require that a site be checked to see if it is a registered grow site by the police prior to issuing a search warrant. In our case this was ignoredThis complaint was heard 4-20-2007, and last week I received notice that the commission sustained my complaint and now the officer will be subject to Internal Affairs for disciplinary action.If the DEA runs the program even that minor avenue of citizen control will be lostAlohaRev. Dennis Shields
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Comment #2 posted by Max Flowers on May 19, 2007 at 09:25:12 PT
This could be very good
The people of Hawai'i have suffered under the cruelty known as Green Harvest for way too long now. Let the islands reclaim their fame as the place with the most incredible pakalolo on earth! I think people will pass on the booby traps and violence these days if they know their land and privacy will be respected. However, problems do arise when people grow on public land and think it's theirs alone. If you grow on public land you have to accept that other people can be on that land too and may find your patch if you choose a bad place for it.Then again if people just respect each other in general, it can work. I've seen it up in BC, on Texada Island where multiple people were growing gardens on public land and they did not have to resort to any booby traps or shooting.I went to Kauai last summer for vacation but brought my own, knowing the sad state that the growing scene is in there.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on May 19, 2007 at 07:22:08 PT
Big Island stands tall
Send the money to New Orleans. Yeah, right, lots of money for wars...1/2 trillion dollars =
$25,000/day for 109,000 years
...and counting
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