Pubdate: Fri, 23 Nov 2007
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Copyright: 2007 Hawaii Tribune Herald
Author: Andrea Tischler


Having resided in Hilo for nearly a year, I have read more than a fair
share of articles in the Tribune-Herald about nonviolent Hawaii
residents and local business people who have been arrested for the
cultivation of marijuana. Most recently was the bust of the long-time
owner of Hilo Propane. I know that this is a respected and honored
family that has contributed to improving life for island residents.

Another peaceful family I know was arrested for growing pot in Puna.
They are loved, have contributed substantially to their community and
have never harmed a soul. I read, recently, that law enforcement is
trying to confiscate their home. I am very disturbed by that because I
believe asset forfeiture is cruel and unusual punishment. Even when a
person is convicted of murder, there is no mention of confiscating his
or her home or land. Seizing property from small pot cultivators must
end, immediately.

Our leaders need to come to grips with the fact that there is a large
East Hawaii community that chooses to consume marijuana for medicinal,
religious and recreational purposes. These folks neither use alcohol
nor ice, which are harmful to personal health and very destructive to
families and society. Most importantly, nearly all pot consumers are

And, significantly, fewer than 5 percent of adults using marijuana
abuse it. Although these folks rarely cause harm to others, we still
put them in jail.

In contrast, 21 percent of island residents are considered obese, an
abuse of healthy eating habits. The "obesity epidemic" fuels a huge
cost in health services paid by the taxpayers, and contributes to a
long list of diseases including stroke, high blood pressure and
diabetes, which killed more than 2,200 residents in 2005, making it
Hawaii's leading cause of death (Herald-Tribune, Nov. 10). We can
extrapolate, therefore, that junk food and sugar are far more
detrimental to one's health than pot. Yet does anyone suggest we
outlaw fast food or arrest obese people for eating it?

Let's not arrest any of our valued people if they cause no

In this coming election year, I encourage people to vote for
candidates who advocate softening punitive marijuana laws and will
support legislation to make adult use of marijuana the lowest law
enforcement priority. Too many lives have been ruined in the cruel,
costly and ineffective war on marijuana.

Andrea Tischler

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