Pubdate: Thu, 16 Jan 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards
Note: For more drug policy in Hawaii go to .


HILO - No charges have been filed against the three medical marijuana
patients arrested six months ago.

Police arrested John and Rhonda Robison and their roommate, Kealoha Wells,
after seizing 20 marijuana plants and 1.5 ounces of dried marijuana July 8
from their Kalaoa home. The Robisons and Wells were released the same day,
pending further investigation.

All three are registered with the state Public Safety office to use
marijuana for medical purposes. John Robison, 36, and Wells, 31, have acute
lymphocytic leukemia, and Rhonda Robison, 31, has a nerve and muscle
degenerative disease called Charco Marie Tooth. 

Deputy Prosecutor Fred Giannini, who is assigned to the case, said he is
evaluating whether charges will be pursued against the Robisons and Wells. 

The Robisons and Wells filed a lawsuit July 24 against arresting officer,
Mark Farias, and other unnamed officers involved in the arrest. They are
being represented by Honolulu attorney Jack Schweigert.

With a medical marijuana card, the Robisons and Wells each may legally
possess three mature plants, four immature plants, and no more than one
ounce of processed marijuana for each mature plant they own. 

Police said the Robisons and Wells had too much marijuana. Instead of the
allowable nine mature plants, police maintain 11 out of the Robisons' and
Wells' 20 plants were mature. 

Police have also said the Robisons and Wells did not have their plants
labeled showing which of the plants belonged to which medical marijuana

State Public Safety officials, meanwhile, have said plant labeling is not a
requirement of medical marijuana cardholders, but it is recommended.

The same week police raided the Robisons' and Wells' home, they returned an
1.5 ounces of dried marijuana taken in the raid. 

Meanwhile, at its regular meeting Jan. 23, the County Council is expected to
take up a resolution authorizing the Corporation Counsel to assign Farias an

The resolution states "it is in the public interest to indemnify (Farias) in
this action for all damages that may be assessed, including punitive

"The council of the county of Hawaii finds that the acts alleged in the
complaint, if occurred, were done in good faith and the probability of
punitive damages being adjudged is small," states the resolution. 

"I don't know how they could make a statement like that without knowing what
all the facts are," Schweigert said Wednesday, noting the case is in the
discovery phase. "I don't know what all the facts are. I'm just beginning on
the case, so I'll know more once they (corporation counsel attorneys) start
to answer some of the outstanding questions I have sent to them." 

"Without knowledge of any of the facts at this juncture, to say there is no
chance of punitive damages is reckless," said Schweigert of the county's

The resolution was waived Jan. 7 to full council from Finance Committee. 

Councilmembers had discussed the matter in a closed executive session Dec.
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