Pubdate: Wed, 24 May 2000
Source: The Honolulu Weekly
Copyright: The Honolulu Weekly
Contact:   (letters to the editor)
Author: Chad Blair


Though a May 16 Honolulu Advertiser-Channel 2 News poll
reported 60 percent of Hawai'i adults surveyed agreed with the passing
of the bill, a backlash to the state Leg's endorsement of medical
marijuana last month has already begun.

House Minority Leader Barbara Marumoto reported to local Republican
Party convention delegates in early May that the soon-to-be law "will
only tempt other family members to dip into the medicine." On May 14,
she wrote to the Advertiser that patients' "ability to have backyard
and balcony gardens will tempt other family members."

Fellow Republican Rep. Colleen Meyer is complaining, too. On May 4,
pointing to medical pot's passage as well as the Leg's allowing of a
state-controlled industrial hemp experiment last year, Meyer posited
that the state was "going to pot."

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, meanwhile, is bemoaning that the Big
Island County Council deferred acceptance of $265,000 in federal funds
to help finance marijuana raids there. "Advocates of legalized
marijuana should be encouraged," HSB editorialized May 8. "The signs
suggest that they are making progress. The rest of us should be
worried that marijuana use may become more widespread."

Lastly. Drug-Free Hawai'i: Prevention Through Education, a newsletter,
cited state Attorney General reports in its Spring 2000 issue
indicating that juvenile arrests for possession of pot increased 15
percent in the first half of 1999 as compared with a year earlier.
"Legalization fuels the growing perception among young people that
marijuana isn't harmful or dangerous when, in reality, it contains
more than 400 chemicals, some of which can cause cancer or drastically
affect brain functions," the newsletter stated.

Others see things differently. State Democratic Sen. Andy Levin, who
heads the Ways and Means Committee and represents the pot-laden Big
Island districts of Ka'u and South Kona, has blocked funding of pot
raids unless state officials address complaints about helicopter use
that violates residents' privacy.

"My constituents have been complaining for years about the raids, but
I was never in a position to get a handle on how to deal with the
issues," Levin told the Weekly. "This year I came up with the idea,
with support of my colleagues, to withhold funds to get a dialogue

Levin expects the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to
soon hold public hearings about funding the pot raids. "If DLNR
continues to be unable to address the concerns, my next step might be
to eliminate the funding."

In other political and pot news, industrial hemp and decriminalization
advocate Aaron Anderson is seeking the District 4 (Puna, Ka'u) state
House seat, while another activist, Jonathan Adler, is running for
mayor on the Big Island. Green and Libertarian party candidates, who
generally favor decriminalization, are running for a variety of
elective offices on that island.
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