Pubdate: Thu, 3 Jul 2008
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald (Hilo, HI)
Copyright: 2008 Hawaii Tribune Herald
Author: Andrea Tischler


In the Tribune-Herald article of June 27, "Popularity grows for
medical marijuana," I am in total disbelief that the Department of
Public Safety released to your newspaper the names of all the medical
marijuana patients, the location where the marijuana is being grown,
and other highly confidential doctor/patient data. This is a very
serious breach of medical privacy rights.

This incident raises many questions about the seriously flawed state
law regulating medical use of cannabis. In the first place, why do
patients need to register with the Narcotics Division? This is a
health issue, not a law enforcement one, and registration is not a
requirement in many other states that have medical marijuana.

Further, the law does nothing to address safe access to marijuana.
Most patients do not have a secure place to grow, or live in public
housing, or fear that their plants will be stolen or must break the
law by buying from dealers with no guarantee that it is of medicinal

And finally, the amount of medicine a patient requires should be the
decision of the doctor, not of legislators in Honolulu. We need to
reform the law now.

The governor has a bill on her desk, HB 2675, that would examine
adequate supply and growing issues. Lingle has indicated she will veto
the bill. It is simply unconscionable to not allow discussion on the
matter. I urge you to contact the governor by letter, e-mail or phone
(808) 586-0034 and urge her to sign the bill.

At the same time, with the rapidly increasing number of marijuana
patients on the Big Island, we need to work with our County Council to
pass an ordinance that will allow small co-ops where patients can
collectively grow their own medicine in a safe environment. This will
have an immediate calming affect, discourage profiteers and reduce
crime. It is the only compassionate solution to address a deficiency
that affects so many seriously ill island residents.

Andrea Tischler

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