Pubdate: Wed,  9 Oct 2002
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2002 West Hawaii Today
Author: Karen Iwamoto
Note: For more on ice, medical cannabis and cannabis eradication in Hawaii
go to


Concerned citizens and marijuana advocates crowded the County Council
conference room Tuesday to testify against the acceptance of federal funds
for Green Harvest, the island's marijuana eradication program.

Following hours of testimony, County Council members agreed to sponsor a
workshop to facilitate a dialogue between the community and police. A date
for the workshop was not announced. 

Thirty - two people testified for more than four hours regarding police
helicopters flying too low, medical marijuana plants being wrongfully
seized, police using marijuana for their personal use and the need to
concentrate more efforts on battling crystal methampetamine or "ice." 

Resident Roger Christie, founder of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, suggested
a "Passover Resolution."

"Put it in writing today that eradication teams are to pass over all
residences with 24 plants or less on their property...a misdemeanor," he

John Robison, of Kailua - Kona, spoke against the program, noting police
seized medical marijuana plants from his property in July. 

"I'm not a marijuana advocate," he said. "I'm just a guy standing up for

Acting Big Island Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna, who was scheduled to address
the County Council on marijuana issues at 10:30 a.m., didn't get to speak
until almost 3:45 p.m. 

"This is not a police department that has a vendetta against anybody. The
police department does not condone the taking of marijuana by police
officers for personal use," he said, promising that any officer caught doing
so would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. 

He said police will concentrate their efforts on eradicating commercial
marijuana plants - patches of thousands of marijuana plants - and not
concentrate on small patches in residential areas.

Councilman Leningrad Elarionoff said, "The Passover Resolution sounds good
but it's almost impossible to see how many plants are in a patch. It sounds
like a good plan but it's not that easy."

Still, Mahuna said he was interested in discussing the issue with the
community in order to reach a compromise. 

However, he stopped short of agreeing to a one year moratorium of the Green
Harvest Program - a suggestion made by Councilman Dominic Yagong. 

"I would not be in favor of it," he said. "If we let large operations
proliferate, it becomes a commodity and can be traded for hard drugs. 

"I would be interested in a dialogue to mitigate what's going on," he added. 

Discussion on the General Plan was deferred until the council's next
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