Pubdate: Wed, 18 Dec 2002
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2002 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: For more on ice, medical cannabis and cannabis eradication in Hawaii
go to


HILO - Big Island lawyer and Teen Court judge Cynthia Linet smoked marijuana
every night for six months during her chemotherapy treatments for cancer in
1998, she told members of the County Council Tuesday in testimony opposing
the marijuana eradication program. 

Linet was among 14 people who testified against "Green Harvest" which is
funded by at least $500,000 annually in state and federal grants.
Councilmembers won't address the program's funding until March, when they
begin work on the budget. However, residents offered testimony at the
Finance Committee meeting Tuesday when an October marijuana eradication
report from the police chief was taken up.

That report revealed 2,012 marijuana plants were seized during an Oct. 21 -
23 mission in East Hawaii, and an Oct. 28 - 30 mission in West Hawaii. In
the South Kona area alone, 411 plants, including 200 seedling plants in
Alae, were seized, according to the report. 

At Tuesday's hearing, Linet said she is not an advocate of teenagers smoking
marijuana, but noted some adults might prefer "a hit on a pipe" to "a
martini." She said she used marijuana to combat non-Hodgkins lymphoma and,
not becoming addicted to the "benign drug," she quit when her chemotherapy
treatment was over. At first, she said, she was discreet about her marijuana
use but then "came out of the closet," telling prosecutors they should
charge her with possession and use of the drug. She said they declined.

"I believe you may be getting a distorted picture of who the users are. They
are your neighbors and they may be some of you," Linet told councilmembers. 

She said users are "little old ladies" who smoke in the afternoons and
evenings, artists, musicians and "religious people who see God" when they

"Most important, they are citizens in your community," she said. 

She said many users are professionals, "solid citizens" who do not testify
publicly about their marijuana use "for fear of reprisals."

She suggested the county's "scarce resources" should be directed toward the
combat of " 'ice' (crystal methamphetamine) and crack."

Tuesday's testimonials also included such regulars as marijuana advocate and
perennial political candidate Aaron Anderson and Roger Christie, founder of
Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which claims 18,000 members. 

Christie called for a moratorium on the marijuana eradication program and
suggested a lawsuit against councilmembers if they did not call for one by
the onset of the new year.

Christie also asked for a resolution demanding police on their missions fly
over areas where less than 25 plants are growing. He reasoned that having
between one and 25 plants is a misdemeanor violation. 

Anderson told of requests for a "mandatory program review that our (County)
Charter promises us, guarantees us" which councilmembers have "waffled on"
for years. He also suggested a lawsuit, specifically to impeach
councilmembers and possibly the mayor and the prosecutor, if the council
does not initiate the program review. 

Finance Committee Chairman Aaron Chung again suggested a workshop allowing
residents to discuss with police how the marijuana eradication program
affects their lives.

He said he wanted to wait to arrange the workshop until after a new police
chief was selected. 

Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna did not attend Tuesday's meeting because he was
attending his formal swearing-in ceremony at the Hilo police station.
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