Pubdate: Sat, 1 Nov 2008
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2008 West Hawaii Today
Author: Jacqueline Harper

Marijuana Initiative


I am truly blessed to live in a country where we can all freely choose
our religion, where we have opportunities to be what ever we choose to
be in life and also to have and voice our opinion on the issues.
However, after reading Ms. Towle,s commentary in the Oct. 29 issue of
the West Hawaii Today, I realized I needed to come forward and offer a
more factual and intelligent view of the marijuana initiative that is
being voted on in this years election. I would love to know where Ms.
Towle got her "facts" from. Saying that Mr. Lehman "hasn't a clue as
to what's going on in the county" is definitely the pot calling the
kettle black.

And I quote from the DEA website: "Crystal methamphetamine (ice) is
the drug of choice in Hawaii."

In my opinion ice is way too easy to get, and way too
affordable. Ms Towle, where exactly are you finding low-cost, abundant
marijuana on this island?

Marijuana is not a gateway drug. I too will argue that point. Let's
start with caffeine and alcohol or nicotine. We start our kids on soda
when they are still in diapers. We surround them with smoke in our
homes from tobacco that's been poisoned by chemicals that have been
added by the tobacco companies. The same companies add ingredients
that cause you to become addicted in a very short period of time,
slowly killing you over time, yet it is legal.

Then enter alcohol. How many people are killed by drunk drivers every
day? How many families devastated? How many people have ruined their
lives, loves or livers because they can't put down that legal bottle
of booze? I have lost people I loved because of both of those legal
drugs, but oddly enough I have never lost anyone due to their use or
someone else's use of marijuana.

The drug users that I have known and spoken with said they all started
with cigarettes, and beer and caffeine before they tried marijuana
(Doesn't that make them the gateway drugs?). A majority of them said
they had awful situations and that even though they may have used
marijuana, it (marijuana) was not the reason they went on to harder

My husband, Mike, who is a service-connected disabled veteran, has
been using medical marijuana both legally and on his own for over 40
years. I have used marijuana medically for over 18 years because of
chronic pain. We do not smoke cigarettes and rarely drink alcohol.
When we use marijuana medically, we do not go out driving or hang
around and try to sell drugs to people on the street corner. We are
productive members of our community and society in general.

Mike has chronic pain due to injuries that happened in the service.
For years he tried to self-medicate with aspirin and ibuprofen only to
eat the lining out of his stomach, which left him with GURD. He has
prescription narcotics readily available to him through the VA
doctors, so many in fact that the Motor Vehicle Department threatened
to take his drivers license away from him, so the told the VA to keep
their drugs.

Marijuana was and is not a gateway drug, it is, however, a way to stay
off of narcotics. It is a safe and effective way to deal with pain
that is there 24/7 without the cause and effect and side effects of
narcotic pain killers. Marijuana has been proven to help in many
medical situations and its use has been documented throughout history.

Because religion was brought up, I feel compelled to remind everyone
that all religions have their own rituals and beliefs, and at some
point I am sure that people thought that Christianity was "simply a
crock of baloney and needs no further discussion."

As a member of the Kona Crime Prevention Committee, Ms. Towle, it
would seem that you would like to see our police officers readily
available for the more serious crimes. We need to free up the courts
for more important matters and to free up space in our jails for the
violent offenders.

Marijuana may be a low priority but until it is in writing, it doesn't
mean anything. One medical marijuana patient that I spoke with, that
is within the law, had the Hawaii Police come onto their property,
declare them within the legal medical marijuana limits, only to have
the DEA come in and seize their medicine 15 minutes later. There is no
record of it at the police station. Tell that patient that we don't
need a law.

Ms. Towle, you were pondering on why the council even considered
addressing the issue. They really did not have a choice. Here is the
break down.

Mr. Lehman produced a petition that as you put it "clearly lacked the
legal number of signers" to place the question on the ballot without
council. Because of the petition not containing the proper number of
signatures the council was forced to vote, and they voted five to four
to certify the petition, then they unanimously voted against making
the proposed ordinance into law, which sent the vote to the good
people of Hawaii County. That is all. The decision they made was to
let us, the good citizens of Hawaii vote. There is nothing at all
strange there.

In June of 2000, Hawaii passed SB 862 HD1, which made Hawaii the first
state whose Legislature, as opposed to voter initiative, legalized
marijuana for medical use.

So, Ms. Towle, I for one would say our state does control our
marijuana. Perhaps in the future it we will reform our current laws in
order to be able to get our medicine from a dispensary, similar to
those in California. I would think that many patients would like that,
but until then, we cross the bridges as we come to them. And right
now, the bridge we are crossing is Ballot Question 1, Bill No. 335.

Ms. Towle, you really need to do some actual research on the history
of marijuana, why and how it became an illegal substance and the
medical research that does show that there are benefits to the use of
marijuana. The facts are all there. How blessed I am where I live in a
country that allows the people to choose.

Jacqueline Harper

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