Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jul 2008
Source: Haleakala Times (HI)
Copyright: 2008 Haleakala Times
Author: Brian J. Murphy


On July 7 of this year, the State of Hawaii Department of Public
Safety confessed to a serious error that jeopardized the safety and
confidentiality of thousands of Hawaii's medical marijuana patients.

According to Mr. Clayton Frank, director of the Department of Public
Safety, "On June 24, 2008, medical marijuana registration information
was mistakenly forwarded by e-mail to a news reporter by one of our
department employees. The information sent included the names and
addresses of medical marijuana prescription holders." Since the
inception of the Medical Marijuana program, our sick and disabled
neighbors have had to contend with numerous challenges unique to
medical marijuana patients.

Now, with this private information made public, our most vulnerable
patients have to fear for their safety as their medical
confidentiality has been compromised and their medicinal supply
endangered. To add insult upon injury, on July 8 Governor Linda Lingle
vetoed HB2675, which would have established a task force to study the
many aspects of medical marijuana.  This task force would have studied
and investigated the laws and practices in order to shape a viable
program that would offer more help than harm to our patients.

While the State Senate showed admirable political will in overriding
the veto, our State House dropped the ball. Governor Lingle justified
her actions, claiming, "the use of marijuana, even medical marijuana,
is illegal under federal law."  State of Hawaii Attorney General Mark
Bennett has already clarified that "an act criminalized under federal
law is not necessarily a criminal act under state law, and vice
versa."  I find it fascinating that Hawaii's governor is far more
interested in serving Federal interests than the needs of Hawaii's
people. Perhaps this foreshadows some bid for a Federal position.

We do not deny her right to aspire for higher office, but while she is
Hawaii's governor, we ask that she govern Hawaii; not as some
Federalist state kowtowing to Washington DC pressures, but under the
laws our people have passed. This wholesale persecution of Hawaii's
medical community by Hawaii State offices, while nothing new, has
crossed a critical line. Hawaii politicians are famous for currying
federal favor over the interests of our well-being, but this pathetic
display of inconsistency and unfairness has threatened an entire
medical community as no other.

Unfortunately, our Governor displays no interest in learning anything
about the dangers that our people face on a daily basis.  Meanwhile,
hundreds of Maui patients, already burdened with outdated and unfair
societal stigmas, now have to live with the fear that their medicine
and privacy are at risk. If Hawaii's diabetics faced the same dangers
in acquiring their insulin that medical marijuana patients face with
their medicine, there would be a very loud outcry.

Agree with it or not, medical marijuana has been recognized by the
State of Hawaii as a viable medicine, and thousands of patients have
been given the right to administer it medicinally. The State of Hawaii
allows its law enforcement officers and government officials to
threaten, harass, and endanger the very patients they license.

We are not second-class citizens, and we are entitled to equal
protection under the law.


Brian J. Murphy


Patients Without Time

Paia, Maui
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake