Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2002
Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
Contact:  2002 Honolulu Weekly Inc
Author: Chad Blair
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Note: For more on medical cannabis and cannabis eradication in Hawaii go to


When the helicopter hovered for some 30 minutes at an altitude less than 500
feet above the Big Isle subdivision of Puna Beach Palisades, residents like
Kevin Horton decided they weren't going to take it anymore.

"I was angry," Horton recalled about the July 18 incident. "I felt that the
sanctity of my home had been violated."

Horton and his neighbors confronted the two helmeted cops who exited the
chopper. "We said, 'Look, we know you're just doing your job, but there's
got to be a better way,'" said Horton, adding, "The helicopter was so loud!"

The two cops finally lifted off, carrying their take: 14 marijuana plants
from a neighbor's yard. 

Horton says he'll submit a petition signed by over 90 percent of the
subdivision to county officials this week to protest the "intrusive beyond
measure" raid.

Kea Wells said she, too, felt "violated" by the way she and housemates
Rhonda and John Robison were treated when cops busted their North Kona home
10 days earlier. Though each has a permit to use med pot, the authorities
confiscated their stash and threw them in jail for eight hours.

"I jumped through the state's hoops to qualify for medical marijuana, and
now this happens," said Wells, who is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.

Longtime combatants in the Big Isle pot wars say authorities have clearly
stepped up Green Harvest eradication and surveillance of med-pot users, even
as the world changes. 

Canada and Great Britain are liberalizing their marijuana laws to the point
where offenders will no longer receive jail or criminal records. Two weeks
ago, California's Supreme Court ruled that residents who grow or use
marijuana for personal medicinal needs are protected from state court

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group in the U.S. House is urging Congress to debate
and approve HR2592, the "States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act." It would
amend federal law so that states wishing to legalize and distribute medical
marijuana could do so without running afoul of federal law. Patsy Mink is a
co-sponsor of the legislation. 

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim's office said that detailed new regulations for
Hawai'i County pot investigations are now in place. "We expect the police to
follow them," Kim aide Andy Levin said.

But residents remain skeptical, as the rules, which lingered on Kim's desk
for three months, would likely not have prevented the Puna and Kona
incidents. Dennis Shields, a minister with the Religion of Jesus Church,
said the police department is "systemically corrupt," pointing to
well-publicized cases. "We have a rampant ice problem on this island, but
the cops are too busy busting cancer patients."
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