Pubdate: Wed, 25 Apr 2012
Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2012 Honolulu Star Advertiser
Author: Gordon Y.K. Pang


A Duo With Medical Marijuana Permits Allegedly Surpass The Pakalolo

Two men charged with possessing marijuana with a street value of more
than $100,000 at a Kalihi hydroponics supply store are scheduled to
appear in Hono-lulu District Court this morning.

Kapahulu resident Thomas Lee Acklen Jr., 31, and Ward Avenue resident
Carlos Jude Trahan, 48, arrested Friday, are out of jail after posting
$20,000 bail each. Both were charged with two counts of first-degree
promotion of a harmful drug, one count of possessing drug
paraphernalia and one count of second-degree promotion of a
detrimental drug.

The two men work at Green Hands of Aloha (, a
store on Mary Street near Sand Island which bills itself on its
website as "Hawaii's Number One Hydroponic Greenhouse Equipment and
Organic Garden Supply Store."

The two men had medical marijuana permits, police said. But the
amounts they had exceeded legally allowed amounts, police said.

Police confiscated from the store on Friday:

About 168 grams of marijuana buds, with an estimated value of

About 448 grams of dried marijuana, value estimated at

About 112 grams of hashish, value estimated at $13,440.

About four ounces of marijuana extract, value estimated at

Police declined to provide further details.

Neither Acklen nor Trahan returned a telephone call placed to them
Tuesday at Green Hands of Aloha.

Medical marijuana permits are administered by the state Department of
Public Safety's Narcotics Enforcement Division.

Keith Kamita, the department's deputy director for law enforcement,
said a person with a medical marijuana permit is allowed up to three
mature, budding plants and four nonbudding plants. Each budding plant
can contain no more than one ounce of usable marijuana, Kamita said,
which comes out to a maximum of three ounces per permit.

Selling marijuana is illegal in Hawaii, and as a result, there are no
dispensaries here, Kamita said. However, a person with a medical
marijuana permit who is physically incapable of growing his or her own
marijuana may designate another party as a "primary caregiver." But a
person cannot be a primary caregiver for more than one person, Kamita

"Hawaii has what they call a one-to-one-person relationship so a
caregiver can only be (a caregiver) for one person," Kamita said. "The
most you could have would be like 14 plants" - seven each for the
caregiver and the person being cared for.

According to online rec-ords on the state Business Registration
Division website, Green Hands of Aloha once described the purpose of
its business in documents as "caregiver."

The number of people registering to use medical marijuana has climbed
significantly in Hawaii in recent years.

Physicians may authorize patients to obtain a medical marijuana permit
if they suffer the symptoms or effects of a "debilitating medical
condition" that can be alleviated with the use of marijuana.

This legislative session, law enforcement and anti-drug campaign
leaders supported House Bill 1963, which would have narrowed the
definition of "debilitating medical condition." The bill stalled in
the House Judiciary Committee.

Kamita, who supported the bill, said the original intent of allowing
for medical marijuana permits was primarily to aid those with
glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and cachexia, also known as "wasting syndrome." Of
the 10,454 permits issued so far in fiscal 2012, however, 6,199 were
for "severe pain" and 3,586 listed "multiple conditions."

Doctors, he said, are "a little bit more lax with this program, but
they need to tighten it up just like we do with any other controlled

Earlier this month U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents
arrested Hono-lulu police officer Michael Steven Chu, who was charged
with conspiring to possess and distribute 48 marijuana plants and one
pound of processed marijuana.

The 13-year HPD veteran allegedly grew marijuana at indoor operations
inside a Kapiolani Boulevard apartment and a Mililani Mauka home. Chu
said he has a medical marijuana permit.

Chu is out on an unsecured $25,000 signature bond.
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