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Marijuana Advocates Celebrate Enactment of 2 Bills

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   June 25th, 2013 · 40 Disqus Comments ·
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enator Josh Green, Governor Abercrombie, Representative Della Au Belatti (speaking), Senator Will Espero. Courtesy photo, ACLU.

Senator Josh Green, Governor Abercrombie, Representative Della Au Belatti (speaking), Senator Will Espero. Courtesy photo, ACLU.

By Wendy Osher

Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed two bills into law relating to the administration of medical marijuana.

The news has already drawn support from both the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaiʻi and the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi.

House Bill 668 effectively authorizes the transfer of the medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health and establishes a Medical Marijuana Registry special fund.

Senate Bill 642, amends the definitions of “adequate supply,” “medical use,” “primary caregiver,” “usable marijuana,” and “written certification.”

The measure allows the medical use of marijuana if the amount of marijuana possessed by the qualifying patient does not exceed an “adequate supply.” This language effectively adjusts the type and amount of medical marijuana a patient can legally possess, according to advocates of the legislation.

The bill also amends registration requirements and allows inquiries by law enforcement agencies regarding registration status to be made 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Under SB642, the DOH is required to immediately verify, upon inquiry, whether the subject of an inquiry is registered with DOH.

Both measures take effect in January of 2015.

File image: Department of Justice photo, courtesy, Maui Police Department.

File image: Department of Justice photo, courtesy, Maui Police Department.

Health Committee Chair Representative Della Au Belatti issued a statement regarding the newly signed bills saying, “Today’s bills represent a significant step forward in improving Hawaii’s medical marijuana program and aligning it with best practices of medical cannabis programs in other states.”

She continued, “By refocusing the program on medical matters such as the role of the primary physician and the role of the Department of Health in providing regulation and program oversight, the state can better ensure the compassionate treatment of people suffering from debilitating health conditions.”

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi and the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi issued a joint statement saying the bills improve patient privacy and safe access to medical marijuana.

The groups noted that the two bills are the first updates to pass in the legislature since the program began, with advocates calling the measures a “significant first step to modernize Hawaii’s 13-year-old medical marijuana law.”

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi and the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi recounted results of a poll conducted locally on 600 Hawaiʻi voters by QMark Research, between November 19 and December 4, 2012.  The findings reportedly included the following:

  • 81% of Hawaiʻi voters support access to medical marijuana by sick and dying people under a doctor’s care; and
  • 78% of Hawaiʻi voters support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.

Pam Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group, said she looks forward to working with lawmakers next year to “establish state-regulated dispensaries, and to make additional patient-centered improvements to the Hawaii program.”

Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU of Hawaiʻi said, “Finally, 13 years down the road, Hawaiʻi is moving toward patient-focused policies and away from a law enforcement approach. These bills do not address every concern, but are the first real steps toward a more sensible public policy,” she said.

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  • Maui_Mike

    About time, a big step, but still a long way to go.
    Legalization is within sight.

    • bubu

      Mike will finally be legal. lol.

      • Maui_Mike

        Lol, I’m already legal, but being legal will finally mean something and presumably be easier, dispensaries next….

        • bubu

          You must have back pain. lol.

          • Maui_Mike

            Admittedly it’s a wink and a nod situation in most cases, but it is the precursor to total decriminalization just like CO & WA did, it’s time has come.

          • Vern

            Or we could just send our druggies to Colorado.

          • Maui_Mike

            The fact that people who smoke marijuana are “druggies” to you is very amusing and disturbing at the same time, very, very old outdated thinking fortunately.

          • Vern

            Well, like I said Mike, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this subject.

          • Maui_Mike

            That sounds logical indeed. At this juncture I would only ask you to consider all the money spent on failed prohibition of MJ, and all the money flowing often in the wrong direction, at least try to keep an open mind.

          • stc1993

            And all the money wasted on keeping people in jail for a little MJ. It would be a joke if it didn’t hurt so many people’s police record.

  • Vern

    Druggies will say and do anything to feed their addiction, and engaging them is like talking to an Amway salesman.

    Even if it was legalized, druggies will still not be able to get a job with any of the drug free employers, they can’t legally own guns, nor will they be able to legally drive.

    Maybe that’s why so many of them are losers, still living with their mom and mooching off her. It’s disgraceful.

    • Be pono

      Vern what an ignorant way to call sick people who are in need of their medicine .
      It’s a plant ,it’s natural and it helps people with AIDS ,cancer and many other illnesses ,( do you suffer from any of these diseases ? .
      The term druggies you are using here is for cocaine, meth ,vicodin etc addicts ,you can label those users druggies .
      You’d rather have people get hooked and depend on pharmaceuticals instead ? make those corporations richer? wake up or quiet your useless mind .

      • Vern

        The blue card is pointless- nobody’s gonna arrest someone who is in the final stages of terminal cancer or AIDS, and using an illegal psychotropic drug like marijuana. There’s no point- they’re not gonna be around long enough to prosecute anyway.

        The people who have their panties in a twist about this, is all the perfectly healthy people who are abusing the blue card loop-hole. They’re not “sick”. They’re fakers who just want to get high. So they study how to fake all these alleged “ailments”, ailments that don’t show in any test. Then they go “shopping” for a “doctor” who will give them a blue card for their hangnail or fibromyalgia or whatever. 100% of the ones I’ve met, have been pathetic fakers like these.

        There is no depths to which they will not stoop. They’ll even work to get blue cards for their aged relatives, so that they can run a bigger drug operation. I’ve seen this one numerous times, and it makes me sick. They’re also usually stealing the pain medication of their older relatives, leaving their flesh-and-blood family in agonizing pain, while they’re smoking the stolen pills for giggles. I’ve never met a pothead that didn’t have other drug addiction issues also.
        The proof in all of this, is that there has been marijuana available for years, that is exactly the same as regular marijuana in every single way, but it doesn’t get people high- and the “blue card” fakers have no interest in it.
        The good news, is that if they smoke pot, they can’t own guns, get a job with a drug-free employer, or drive.

        • Maui_Mike

          With all due respect, You are very out of touch with reality on this one, all the older pot smokers I know do not use any drugs at all and have jobs, times are changing and most people do not subscribe to your archaic ideals anymore.

        • Ego Death

          Vern, your ignorance on the subject actually makes it easier for the cannabis community to develop. You should seriously educate yourself before condemning a plant that has many benefits. It is obvious you hate marijuana for some reason. Im sure you don’t know its history of medical use in america pre prohibition days.
          Alcohol is worse of a drug than cannabis, so is cigarrettes and sugar. Anything can be a drug if you abuse it.
          Lots of people who smoke cannabis have jobs, drive cars and own guns. Lots of people who smoke cannabis never used harder drugs cause of it.

          “The proof in all of this, is that there has been marijuana available for years, that is exactly the same as regular marijuana in every single way, but it doesn’t get people high- and the “blue card” fakers have no interest in it.”
          Really? That just makes you look uneducated.
          So you are afraid of the people who use cannabis that they might have a gun or drive? Only someone who knows nothing about the cannabis might be. Anyone who does knows alcohol is far worse in terms of driving and guns, job even.
          Cannabis has helped me for years. I can smoke it and get instant relief from chronic pain, and still get up the next morning. Taking over the counter medication, like muscle relaxers and pain pill will leave you docile, in bed, and unable to function. Cannabis gives me the ability to continue my work and live a quality life that I was never able to achieve with man made medication.
          If you think that everyone is a liar and just wants to do drugs, it is you who has problems with judging others about things you know nothing about, ignorance is hindering your growth as a human being.

          • Ego Death

            Cannabis has helped me for years. I can smoke it and get instant relief from chronic pain, and still get up the next morning. Taking over the counter medication, like muscle relaxers and pain pill will leave you docile, in bed, and unable to function. Cannabis gives me the ability to continue my work and live a quality life that I was never able to achieve with man made medication.

            If you think that everyone is a liar and just wants to do drugs, it is you who has problems with judging others about things you know nothing about, ignorance is hindering your growth as a human being.

          • Kirk

            Dopers never seem to understand that making an argument AGAINST alcohol, does nothing to support an argument FOR marijuana. It’s also pretty hypocritical, since every doper I’ve ever met drinks alcohol too.
            Regarding dopers who drive, I said “legally”. If they’re driving with dope in their system, they are DUI, which is a crime. And marijuana stays in a dopers system for weeks after smoking. So unless a doper stops driving for a month after the last time you got high, they’re a criminal.

            Regarding dopers who have guns, again I said “legally”. Federal law prohibits marijuana users from owning firearms (refer to question 11a. on ATF form 4473), and Hawaii state law prohibits anyone with a blue card from owning firearms, so any doper with guns is a criminal. And judges are generally not amused by those who commit drug crimes while committing federal firearms felonies.

            And regarding “quality of life” and “chronic pain”, I’m seriously beginning to wonder what kind of panty-waisted pansies we’ve raised (Gen-X and beyond). Maybe people used to be made from sturdier stock. My generation dealt with “chronic pain” that involved a lot more than the hangnails that seem to cripple so many otherwise able-bodied 20-somethings. We used a method called “manning up”. We recognized that the world doesn’t revolve around us, that we have a responsibility to provide for ourselves and our loved ones, that we can’t deposit excuses into our checking accounts, and we simply did what we had to do in spite of the pain.

          • American brainwash is dope

            Dopers and medical marijuana users are two different types of people. Lets get that clear. It seems your generation, a brainwashed generation, thinks that anyone who smokes marijuana regularly are dopers. Regardless of the fact that they have tried other prescription “legal” medication and choose to take a natural one that does not have side effects which cause other problems. We have found the truth that this plant can take place of a lot of medications, and how do you think it would affect the medical industry if people knew the truth? If people could grow their own medicine for free there would be a lot of doctor offices, colleges, loans, and residual income affected by the loss. This is about control. Something they have done very well with your generation.

            Medical cannabis users with guns? Hawaii is different because there is no open or concealed carry. But this does not make sense in a medicinal context, you can’t put medical users in the same bunch as criminals anymore which is what most of you can’t seem to get. It is understandable that your generation has so much hate for it, but to hate something you don’t know anything about personally, is supreme ignorance. If you want to have any say worth arguing, get educated on the subject, not from the governments’ hitler prohibitionists views, but from experience.
            Chronic pain and quality of life- If you are wondering about the quality of next generation you have raised, then you should see differences in generational upbringing and how the government controls it. What did you do for us? Today there are more chemicals and pesticides ingested than ever before. We live in a consumer society where we don’t grow or kill the meat we eat, we buy it from a store and never see where our food comes from. Soft metals in our water, and chemicals in everything we touch. Kids today grow up on tv. Parents who make up the middle class majority have no real time to teach their kids how to be tough. All they do is work to support the goverment’s will. Kids are not like they used to be that is inevitable. And you think all we have is hangnail or some weak thing like that? Maybe your generation would cry about it. How about muscoloskeletal deformites that cause extreme pains, because of all these toxins and chemicals… That is what I have to live with.
            The thing that we do have is lots of information. And easy access to it. The truth is being spread. And whether you like it or not it brings change.
            It seems like you older generation hates us because of how we turned out? We are a direct products of the environments that we have been raised in. Technology is suppose to make things easier for people, but it obviously makes things harder. Many cannabis users go back to the land. They reconnect with what is important. Nature and life.
            You dopers of american culture have made me make me sick, literally.

    • Maui_Mike

      You have seemed intelligent to me on most subjects, but on the subject of marijuana you could not be more wrong or less enlightened than you are, your stereotypical analogies are like something from the 1930′s anti marijuana movie reefer madness. Your insistence that marijuana users are lazy unproductive society dropouts is ludicrous and shortsighted, what’s more is that I predict with the changing laws employers will not be able to fire someone for the medicine they use, weather it be marijuana or any other medicine prescribed to them.

      • Vern

        Mike, you too have seemed intelligent to me on most subjects, but on the subject of marijuana you could not be more wrong or less enlightened than you are, your stereotypical analogies are like something from a High Times editorial. Your insistence that marijuana users are not lazy unproductive society dropouts is ludicrous and shortsighted, what’s more is that I predict that with the changing laws employers will still be able to fire dopers, because Hawaii is an “at will” state.

        • Maui_Mike

          I am not a lawyer, but a company would have a significant legal hurdle if they fired someone for using a prescribed medicine, if so they could do so now for someone taking any medication, no way that will be the case.
          As for being bad community members, I know of many MJ users who are productive members of society in every facet of work you can imagine, I know how wrong you are from life experience and personal knowledge, not supposition and speculation based on stereotype, I think you would be surprised how many people use MJ and are regular hard working folks with values in tact, I certainly know of many.
          I guess we will have to see how the rest plays out.
          Much Aloha.

          • Vern

            Mike, I have a legal education, and decades of experience as both as an employee and as an employer- it sounds like you may need to educate yourself on “at will” employment laws. An employer can terminate his relationship with an employee for any reason or for no reason.

            And I am not expressing a “stereotype”. My experiences run long and deep in this area, and for every “regular hard working” one, there are about another 999 unemployed dopers out there, mooching off their aged parents, sucking up welfare, stealing tourist’s cameras out of their beach bags, and smashing the windows out of rental cars to support their addiction to illegal drugs like marijuana.

            Your position causes me to suspect that you either live a very sheltered life, or you’re deviating from reality to try to “sell” your ideas. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling, but I am not among them. I’d be a lot more likely to believe the truth- that dopers simply want to get high, and the rest of all this malarkey is simply a reverse-engineered fabrication to try to justify their drug habit.

            In the end, I guess you and I will have to respectfully disagree with each other. I like you, Mike. I wish you the very best.

          • Maui_Mike

            I actually agree with you for the most part, but believe me when I tell you that all the MJ users I know do not fit into the category you describe, the situation you speak of usually would apply to hard drug users like meth, crack etc.
            I am familiar with the “at will” laws you speak of, but I also know they have not held up well to legal challenges especially when a union is involved, wrongful termination is still able to be challenged and often reversed here in Hawaii.
            In short, we only seem to disagree on how detrimental MJ is, and what type of people use it, like anything that varies greatly.
            We have more common ground here than discourse.
            I wish you the best as well.

  • stand alone

    Oh,oh, the zombies have woken again. LOL… they’re smelling something…

  • stand alone

    Marijuana used for medical is not a wrong thing. Its 100% O.K. from my point of view. But for the rest of the other’s who want to get it legalized for socializing, and personal uses. I say no to those zombies…..

    • Maui_Mike

      You have more to fear from alcohol abusers than smokers, but I respect your opinion even if I disagree in part with it.
      You know I’m not a zombie…my intellectual side functions fairly well and I will match wits with you anytime, our discussions have always been entertaining and thought provoking for me.

      • stand alone

        Hey Maui Mike, :))

      • stand alone

        You’re absolutely right on the facts that I should be more afraid of those alcoholic drivers. And I am. Even so the higher risk with those drivers that is high on pot. Putting both on our highways is just ridiculously stupid!

        • Maui_Mike

          They are already on the road, nothing new because of this.

          • stand alone

            oH you’re awake. :)) have a safe and nice week end….

          • Maui_Mike

            Mahalo, You do the same, and watch out for all the crazy potheads on the roads, they will be the ones driving under the speed limit with the radio too loud!

  • 4 The Answer, Turn 2 God

    Weed is God’s Herb, who are any of us to question God’s will? He put the herb on earth for us to enjoy, just like all of his other herbs. Of course this does not apply to other man made substances, they are completely different. The fact that it was ever illegal in the first place, simply shows the ignorance of man. Respect God’s will, enjoy his herb.

    • stand alone

      Sounds like a typical drug user. Smoke and you’ll see God….LOL..

      • 2 Each His Own

        You sound like a typical Tea Bag Conservative…

        • stand alone

          Better then a zombie. and you sound like a typical zombie.

    • stand alone

      That herb you’re talking about ” marijuana ” was place on earth by God as a test for people like you. To see if you’ll use his gift of healing for good use or for sinful use. And it seems that you’ve failed

      • Judge Yourself First

        Oh, so now you are an authority on “Sin.” I suspect you are nothing more than a member of the cult on the corner. That’s great for you, don’t bother others with it…

        • stand alone

          Member yes, cult no. Member of ???? ;)) and also your suspicions are wrong like you are. And I suspect you’re usually wrong.

  • 80% of maui supports “dopers”

    All this complaining about druggies, dopers, potheads and such.
    You guys have no argument. Look at the percentage rate and ask yourself why am I in the minority about this? Because you are most likely uneducated about it.

    “81% of Hawaiʻi voters support access to medical marijuana by sick and dying people under a doctor’s care; and
    78% of Hawaiʻi voters support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.”
    You 20% need to stop being ignorant.

    • Maui_Mike

      Decriminalization of marijuana will undoubtably happen within the next ten years as the next generation emerges onto the political scene and the old ignorant politicians who think weed and heroin are in the same class fade away, times they are a changing, the answer is blowing in the wind~ Bob Dylan


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