Pubdate: Thu, 23 Jan 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Gary Storck,
Note: For more drug policy in Hawaii go to .

I was shocked and saddened at how three patients, all registered with the
state of Hawaii's medical marijuana program, were still targeted by police
and subjected to a raid and arrest, "Criminal charges undecided for medical
marijuana cardholders" (Jan. 16).

The quantities involved make it clear that these patients were not trying to
evade the law. Perhaps part of the problem was that this law is poorly
written and does not take the actual needs of patients into consideration.
Each patient is different, and his or her needs are unique. One size does
not fit all. Some patients may need just a few puffs of cannabis to
stimulate their appetite, while someone in severe chronic pain may need a
quarter ounce or more per day, particularly if they ingest it in foods
rather than smoking it. To force sick people to walk such a narrow line or
face arrest and jail is nothing short of cruel and immoral. And to leave
them twisting in the wind for over seven months while criminal charges are
contemplated is de facto torture.

I wish these patients success in their lawsuit against the officers who
kicked in their door, and I sincerely hope Deputy Prosecutor Fred Giannini
will stop wasting the people of Hawaii's tax dollars on such a trivial
matter and get back to protecting people from real crime.

And Hawaii's legislature should revisit this flawed law and make it more
flexible so that it does what it is supposed to, protecting sick people from
arrest and jail for trying to get back a little quality of life.

Gary Storck 

Madison, Wis.
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