Pubdate: Wed, 3 Nov 2010
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2010 Andrea Tischler
Author: Andrea Tischler


Changes are needed.

Today it's safe to say that most people accept cannabis' medical use.
State law allows it. Then why are patients still being arrested and
prosecuted? ("Despite state law, Big Isle medical pot patients facing
court after trying to fly to Oahu," WHT Oct. 31).

Medical cannabis patients are particularly vulnerable because they
have seen a doctor, openly declare to using cannabis and obediently
register with the state Narcotics Enforcement Division in the belief
they will be protected.

Law-abiding patients trust in institutions. Yet institutions like
Narcotics Enforcement Division use the patient information provided to
investigate, harass and arrest when possible. Last summer police
violated at least 57 patients' right to privacy after showing up at
their homes demanding to see plants -- with no probable cause or
search warrant.

The violations continue: The head of Narcotics Enforcement Division,
Keith Kamita, attends community meetings to discredit the state
medical marijuana program, the very program he administers. He defames
doctors by showing their photos and questions the legitimacy of their
recommendations; Hawaii police show up at an Oceanview AA/NA meeting
and tell participants that they are investigating doctors; Narcotics
Enforcement Division releases individual patient data to the
Tribune-Herald and patients are systematically arrested when traveling
to Oahu for medical treatment.

Law enforcements' stubborn refusal to follow state laws needs to end
and public officials who are consistently in violation should be
removed from their positions.

We will ensure that next session the state Legislature will pass a
bill to transfer administration of the medical marijuana program to
Public Health, where it belongs, and to set up a dispensary system
that guarantees that patients receive medical-grade cannabis and safe
access so that sick people no longer have to buy medicine from a
criminal underworld.

Andrea Tischler

Americans for Safe Access

Big Island Chapter
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake