Pubdate: Tue,  2 Sep 2003
Source: Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI)
Copyright: 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Author: Nick Veltre
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)
Note: The author is head of the Hawaii Marijuana Party. To read about the "ice
epidemic" in Hawaii, go to .


Solving Hawaii's ice problem is simply a matter of the Legislature and the
police obeying immutable laws of economics. Hawaii has been warned many times
to end police state-style marijuana eradication programs such as "Green
Harvest" or suffer the unavoidable consequences of a prohibition mentality: The
tougher the laws, the harder the drugs. 

Hawaii's first warning: In his 1989 report "Survey of Hawaii's War on Drugs,"
former Attorney General Warren Price predicted, "The destruction of the
[marijuana] industry ... would create another problem: there would simply be a
shift to other competitively priced drugs ... victories over the pakalolo
industry would create a vacuum that harder drugs could fill." 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the attorney general wasn't a

Hawaii's second warning: In the early 1990s, the National Institute on Drug
Abuse was commissioned by the White House to study Hawaii's ice problem.
According to the NIDA, an "important finding emerging from this study concerned
the effect on individuals and communities from the scarcity of marijuana due to
the eradication campaigns. Users often reported this was a major contribution
to the increase in the use of meth, especially in Honolulu. In many communities
it had a devastating effect". (1991-94 Final Report, "Ice and Other
Methamphetamine Use: An Exploratory Study").

Hawaii should endeavor, given its enormous comparative economic advantage in
the industry, to regulate the cultivation and distribution of this relatively
benign (nothing is harmless) herb, and reap the economic and social advantages.

Someone should tell Elaine Wilson of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Division that
using hundreds of beds for treating "marijuana addiction" is a bit silly.
Nobody goes to rehab for marijuana unless they are sent there by a judge as an
alternative to jail. It's not physically addicting and marijuana users are not
dangerous. Those beds could be used for ice addicts to the greater good

We've killed a local industry that once brought between $1 billion and $10
billion a year to these islands, and we got a hard drug problem and
prohibition-engendered crime in exchange. Now we send much more than a
half-million dollars to the mainland every day to fulfill the demand for
marijuana that the local growers can no longer supply and many people cannot
afford (so they buy cheap, deadly ice instead).

That amount of money would plug the state budget gap many times over. Regulate
marijuana, and profit from the economic and social advantages that would accrue
to everyone in the state.
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