Pubdate: Wed, 31 Jul 2002
Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
Contact:  2002 Honolulu Weekly Inc
Author: Chad Blair
Note: For more on medical cannabis and cannabis eradication in Hawaii go to


Is the statewide marijuana eradication campaign leading drug users to
crystal methamphetamine? An 8-year-old study supports an ice-pot connection,
and is making headlines on the Big Island, where concerned citizens are
pressing county officials to junk costly Green Harvest raids in favor of
cracking down on ice, aka batu ("Police violations," HW, 7/24).

The ice/pot theory is not new, nor confined to Hawai'i County. The Institute
for scientific Analysis of San Francisco found that crystal meth use in
Honolulu during the 1980s was replacing pot use, most pointedly in
low-income areas where marijuana had become scarce and expensive due to
eradication (Cover Story, "High Anxiety," HW, 10/27/99).

Now, a three-year study published in 1994 by the National Institute on Drug
Abuse (NIDA) that interviewed 450 ice users in Honolulu, San Fran and San
Diego is providing fresh fodder for the debate. "Residents were both pushed
away from pakalölö, their staple drug of choice, and pulled toward ice by a
well-organized marketing campaign by Asian distributors," the report stated.
Green Harvest, which began in the late 1970s, "left locals without their
customary, and many would say, relatively benign, smoke."

The report further states that Honolulu users consumed more ice per capita
than California users, and were more violent and more prone to commit
crimes. They were also far more likely than California users to smoke the
drug rather than inject or inhale it.

The Hawai'i Tribune-Herald reported July 25 that the study's principal
investigator, Patricia Morgan of UC Berkeley's School of Public Health, met
with Mayor Harry Kim's executive assistant, Bill Kenoi, last week. Kenoi
told the Weekly that he had yet to read Morgan's report but acknowledged
that county officials are well-aware of the Big Isle's ice "epidemic
crisis," as he put it. Arrests for ice distribution increased 431 percent
there from 1997 to 2000.

Back on O'ahu, the U.S. Department of Justice reported recently that
Honolulu now has the highest percentage of male ice arrestees out of 30
metropolitan areas surveyed, including New York, Philadelphia and Seattle.
The arrest numbers dovetail with recent reports of increased crime and drug
treatment for ice use on O'ahu and Hawai'i, and Child Protective Services'
removal of children from ice-using homes on Hawai'i.

"I can't confirm that we're the No. 1 ice-using state, but we remain one of
the top states since the ice wave first hit in the late 1980s and early
1990s," said Elaine Wilson, chief of the Department of Health's Alcohol and
Drug Abuse Division (ADAD). "But it's not the case that eradication has led
to this."

Kenoi said that the '94 NIDA report may be "on the table" as part of the
Hawai'i Island Methamphetamine Summit on Aug 27. Sponsored by the Drug
Enforcement Agency and the nonprofit National Crime Prevention Council, the
summit is spearheaded by U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, who is pushing for a $4
million appropriation from Congress to combat ice manufacturing and use on

Some think the ice summit will amount to little more than public posturing.

"Is it gonna be facts or farce?" asked Roger Christie of the Hawai'i
Cannabis Ministry, who has tried thus far unsuccessfully to get invited to
the ice summit. "Based on past experience, I think this summit is rigged to
come up with results that will only support continued eradication of pot.
Tons of federal money have already been dumped into the Big Island for this.
If cops get the same bad results with ice eradication as they've had with
pot, I'm afraid we're in for more trouble."

For more on the ice summit, which will be held at the Outrigger Waikoloa,
call (808) 961-8316.
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