Pubdate: Thu,  1 Aug 2002
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2002 West Hawaii Today
Author: Charles Flaherty 
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: For more on ice, medical cannabis and cannabis eradication in Hawaii
go to



Crystal methamphetamine or "ice" is a terrible problem within our community.
Crime is increasing, families are being destroyed, spouses and children are
being abused, and jobs are being lost as a direct result of this horrendous
epidemic. As the level of suffering increases, popular opinion grows within
our community that our government is not doing enough to address this
serious crisis. Meanwhile, we watch the heavy investment in police,
helicopters, and dollars to make "Operation Green Harvest" the success that
it has been. 

I will not debate the merits of the investment in marijuana eradication in
lieu of the damage being caused to our community by "ice," except to state
the simple known facts that "ice" has been shown to cause severe permanent
damage to the brain, while marijuana has been proven to have medicinal
benefits. It was for this reason that the state passed legislation that
allowed for permits for the cultivation and use of marijuana for individuals
suffering chronic, life-threatening diseases, such as cancer and AIDS. 

WHT (July 12) reported three individuals had been arrested for marijuana
possession, despite having approved state permits for possession. Then I
read that two of the individuals had leukemia and the third had muscular
dystrophy. As a long-term survivor of AIDS who has had the relative good
fortune to deal with the toxic side-effects of HIV chemo-therapy for over 13
years now, I was appalled and disgusted. Are the police now focusing on
people suffering with life-threatening diseases who are in apparent
compliance with state law, per the state Public Safety director, instead of
felons who are causing "ice" to become an epidemic that is ravaging our
community like AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa? 

It may be that important mitigating factors to the arrests were excluded
from the WHT story. But if there were none, the "concerned citizen" who made
the complaint, the judge who issued the search warrant and the arresting
officers should be filled with shame at causing more pain and suffering for
three less fortunate individuals. Those arrested would have been simply
working within the law to make what life is left to them more comfortable
and, therefore, worthwhile. How could any decent, law-abiding person deny
them this inalienable right? 

I will hope that the county prosecuting attorney's office will drop this
case as soon as possible, unless there was a true crime committed. Then
return to these three citizens what is morally, ethically, and lawfully
theirs. Enough pain has been caused through this incident to individuals who
must look death in the face each waking moment of their respective lives. 

In addition, I do not understand how our county police have the time and
money to act as federal agents, given the on-going headlines of shortages of
manpower and money in the local police department. 

Why are terminally ill members of our community, who have done no apparent
harm to anyone, being harassed by neighbors and police? Is this now the
nature of our community? I hope and pray this is not the case, especially
with "ice" in and of itself acting as a cancer within our community.

Charles Flaherty 

- ---
MAP posted-by: Doc-Hawk