"Merely having a medical marijuana card doesn't mean you're using
marijuana. We can't prove you're using marijuana. Our practice of
having them turn in their firearms was incorrect," Honolulu police
Chief Susan Ballard said of her department's controversial policy
requiring medical marijuana patients to relinquish their guns.
Honolulu police Chief Susan Ballard said her department's
controversial policy requiring medical marijuana patients to
relinquish their guns was wrong.
"It is not illegal to possess the ones you already have," Ballard told
the Honolulu Police Commission on Wednesday. "Merely having a medical
marijuana card doesn't mean you're using marijuana. We can't prove
you're using marijuana. Our practice of having them turn in their
firearms was incorrect."
[continues 344 words]
The Honolulu Police Department is reviewing a controversial policy
that requires legal marijuana patients to turn in their firearms.
The reconsideration follows community backlash since the Honolulu
Star-Advertiser reported earlier this week that HPD has sent letters
to at least 30 medical cannabis users who are permitted gun owners
telling them to surrender their firearms.
The new police chief, Susan Ballard, hasn't said what her position is
on the issue. HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said Ballard is reviewing
[continues 551 words]
The Honolulu Police Department will not enforce a controversial policy
requiring legal marijuana patients to turn in their guns.
The department issued a notice Tuesday, saying it is consulting with
other governmental agencies, as well as reviewing recent court rulings
regarding the issue. HPD said it will, however, continue to deny new
firearm permits to applicants with medical marijuana cards.
"This is a new area of concern for cities across the country, and we
in Honolulu want to develop a policy that's legally sound and serves
our community," HPD Chief Susan Ballard said in a news release.
"Formulating the policy will take time, but we want to do it right."
[continues 60 words]
Dozens of patients anxiously stood in line - one as early as the night
before - to be the first on Oahu to buy products such as Chocolope and
Lemon Drop, medical marijuana strains that went on sale Wednesday.
"It's like a candy store," said Kimbreley Timulty, 45, who was among
the first to purchase pot at Aloha Green LLC. "It was overwhelming
because you walk in there and that's the only thing that you smell."
Timulty, who uses marijuana for insomnia and post-traumatic stress
disorder, and her 47-year-old husband, Joseph, from Makiki, said they
have been waiting 17 years for medicinal pot to be readily available
[continues 562 words]
Hawaii history will be made today when the first dispensary opens for
business on Maui, nearly two decades after the state legalized medical
Maui Grown Therapies, one of eight dispensary licensees, will begin at
11 a.m. the first legal sales of cannabis in the islands. The company
was the first to pass a final Health Department inspection Monday,
beating at least one other dispensary, Aloha Green Holdings Inc. on
Oahu, to be the first to open.
It is a significant milestone for the industry that has struggled to
get off the ground since the law establishing dispensaries was passed
in 2015. The first dispensaries were allowed to open as early as July
2016, but were delayed for more than a year, frustrating medical
cannabis patients and caregivers.
[continues 258 words]
Thirty-eight percent of the 17,591 patients registered in Hawaii's
medical marijuana program were located on the Big Island.
Recently released data by the state Department of Health indicates the
trend of medical marijuana patients in Hawaii is changing.
Thirty-eight percent of the 17,591 patients registered in Hawaii's
medical marijuana program were located on Hawaii Island, according to
the data released Friday. That's down from 40 percent in March and 42
percent in December.
Meanwhile, the percentage of patients hailing from Oahu has jumped
from 25 percent in December to 29 percent last month, a more than
1,300-patient increase. The Big Island's patient count increased by
about 300 people in that same time, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
[continues 278 words]
Until Governor David Ige approved the new law, possession of drug
paraphernalia ranging from marijuana pipes to plastic bags and needles
was a felony that carried a penalty of up to five years in prison and
fines of up to $10,000. Now, people caught with drug paraphernalia
would face no jail time and could be fined no more than $500.
Gov. David Ige has quietly signed a new law that dramatically reduces
the penalties for possession of all kinds of drug paraphernalia - a
proposal that was opposed by Attorney General Douglas Chin as well as
prosecutors on Hawaii island, Maui and in Honolulu.
[continues 962 words]
Since 2000, the state of Hawaii has had a medical-use-of-marijuana
program to provide patients with chronic illness a safe and effective
treatment option. As we progress through 2017 and in anticipation of
opening dispensaries, it is now the appropriate time to remove the
inconsistent treatment of cannabis as an illegal substance from Hawaii
law. It would seem the state Legislature agrees, as there are over 10
bills seeking to decriminalize marijuana; over 10 bills expanding the
current dispensary program (even though dispensaries haven't opened
yet); over five bills trying to open the state in some way to
industrial hemp; and several bills claiming portions of the tax
revenue from still unopened dispensaries - all alongside two or three
bills with a more "boogeyman" and much less science-based approach.
For example, House Bill 922 points out that 90 percent of the state's
medical marijuana certifications are issued by just 10 doctors, then
asserts this is due to some abuse ! of the system instead of the fact
that most doctors feel their license will be in danger if they issue
marijuana certifications, or the fact that many people choose to seek
marijuana certifications from doctors who specialize in cannabis
rather than their regular doctor.
[continues 406 words]
A leader of a ring that conspired to smuggle methamphetamine from San
Diego to Hawaii has been sentenced in federal court to 28 years in prison,
the U.S. Attorney's office in Honolulu said today.
Jesse Wade Pelkey, 38, of Imperial Beach, Calif., was sentenced Thursday
by Senior District Judge Helen Gillmor. In September, Pelkey pled guilty
to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute
methamphetamine, according to a news release from Florence T. Nakakuni,
U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii.
[continues 84 words]
The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve the payout to the
woman, whom LAPD investigators believe is one of at least four women James
Nichols and Luis Valenzuela coerced into sex. The Times generally does not
name alleged victims of sex crimes.
Nichols and Valenzuela, both 41, were working as narcotics detectives in
Hollywood in 2010 when they arrested the woman, according to one of her
attorneys, Dennis Chang, and a search warrant affidavit LAPD investigators
filed as part of their criminal investigation into the officers' conduct.
[continues 449 words]
Medical Marijuana Proponents Predict Big Increase in Users
New data from the state Department of Health confirms Hawaii County
has nearly twice as many medical marijuana patients as Oahu, with
about 11 percent living in Pahoa alone.
On June 30, there were 6,101 patients residing on Hawaii Island,
comprising 42 percent of the 14,492 patients statewide. The island
has about 13 percent of the state's total population.
Pahoa, with an estimated 14,565 residents in 2014, had 702 of those
patients. Meanwhile, Hilo - with roughly three times the population
as Pahoa - had 637 patients. Kona had 705 and Oahu had 3,408 patients.
[continues 607 words]
Afederal appeals court gave medical marijuana advocates what seemed
like a big win this week with a unanimous ruling that the federal
government cannot prosecute people who grow and distribute medicinal
cannabis if they comply with state laws.
The decision affirms a mandate from Congress that barred the U.S.
Department of Justice in 2014 and 2015 from bringing cases against
legitimate pot shops in states that have medical marijuana laws. It
makes clear that if operators are meticulously following the rules,
they shouldn't have to worry about the feds coming after them.
[continues 437 words]
I'm writing in response to Mr. McClure's letter to the editor on July
31 regarding Colorado's experience with legalized marijuana.
It must have been a shock for him to return to Denver after almost 30
years and find that the place had changed.
My husband and I moved from Denver to Waikoloa Village 20 years ago
but have been visiting almost every year since to see family and friends.
Yes, Denver has changed over the years, but it happened long before
the legalization of marijuana three years ago. The population of the
Denver Metro area increased by 50 percent between 1980 and 2000. At
the risk of stereotyping, traffic really started to get bad in the
1980s when the city received an influx of Californians who brought
their driving habits of honking as soon as the light turns green and
running red lights regularly with them. And more people means more
cars and more traffic on the roads.
[continues 312 words]
Recently, our state fitted nine favored companies with licenses to
cultivate and provide medical marijuana to the sick, which will
generate millions of dollars in profits.
If we are going to legalize medical marijuana in Hawaii, the
community should benefit from the profits.
Why not team with the state Department of Agriculture to form a
medical marijuana agency that would help minimize patients' expenses?
Tony Gonzalez Waianae
Many Doctors Are Adopting a Risk-Averse Attitude and Want to Wait
Until Dispensaries Are Established
Health care providers have been slow to embrace the medical marijuana
industry even though July 15 was the legal opening date for the
state's first dispensaries. The number of doctors certifying medical
cannabis patients only climbed slightly over the past six months.
There were 88 physicians who certified 14,492 patients as of June 30,
up from 79 doctors and 13,150 patients on Dec. 31, according to the
state Health Department.
[continues 653 words]
On July 7, Gov. David Ige signed into law what might prove to be the
most important piece of economic legislation in the past 50 years.
Hawaii now enjoys the best hemp law in the nation.
We who have been active in bringing back hemp to agriculture believe
that generations will still be saying mahalo to those who worked,
some for decades, to get this law passed. Now it's time to implement it.
The hemp industry is growing 1,000 percent per year in the U.S.,
despite the "research only" provision for hemp in federal law. No
place is more ready to lead hemp's resurgence than the Aloha State.
Our year-round cultivation climate, small farmer infrastructure, and
bottom line need for a regenerative agriculture economy means we have
all the pieces of the puzzle.
[continues 500 words]
DOH Says Inspections Still To Be Completed
LIHUE - The more than 1,600 registered medical marijuana patients on
Kauai may not be getting their medicine at a licensed dispensary in July.
Department of Health officials said facility inspections of the state
eight licensees have yet to take place. That means dispensaries won't
be ready to open a retail establishment by July 15, the earliest date
legislators allowed them to start selling medicine to registered patients.
"The Department of Health is unable to predict the progress by each
licensee because there are a number of requirements that are outside
of our department's control," said Janice Okubo, DOH spokeswoman.
[continues 223 words]
Legislators Field Marijuana Questions at Meeting in Pahoa
Hawaii's medical marijuana dispensary law isn't perfect - far from it
- - but it's a start, and the state needs to begin somewhere.
That's how lawmakers characterized the up-and-coming dispensary
system Thursday evening to a fired up crowd in Pahoa, many who
pointed out what they called flaws in the way the law was written.
"What we came up with, I don't choose to defend, I think it's
extremely imperfect," state Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, told the
nearly 100 attendees, which appeared to include several patients and
marijuana users. "But it's a step, and we're going to keep taking
steps. I think five years from now, the situation is going to look
dramatically different than it does now. Meanwhile, it's like walking
through mud - you can't run, you gotta keep moving forward."
[continues 584 words]
The other day, in a seaside cafe here, veteran cannabis journalist
David Bienenstock gamely fielded my attempts to catch up on a subject
I have failed to appreciate for far too long: the coming end of
Earlier this month, the backers of a California initiative to
legalize the recreational use of marijuana, including Lt. Gov. Gavin
Newsom and tech kabillionaire Sean Parker, said they had gathered
enough signatures to make the November ballot. In the same week, the
federal government dropped its long-standing case against Oakland's
Harborside Health Center, the largest medical pot dispensary in the country.
[continues 843 words]
The Hawaii Legislature's fixation on marijuana as a medical cure-all
is starting to resemble a remake of the Cheech and Chong classic, "Up
As lawmakers meticulously tweaked the medical marijuana law that
could see local dispensaries selling pot within months, more pressing
medical concerns - failing state hospitals, doctor shortages,
bullying insurers - got little relief in the 2016 session.
The Legislature grudgingly threw cash-strapped Wahiawa General
Hospital a $2.5 million Band-Aid only because the district's senator
was in a position to hold up the entire state budget without it.
[continues 383 words]
So, proposed new laws might make it legal for cannabis dispensaries
to grow pakalolo in sunlight, and nurses might be able to certify pot
patients. Whoopee! Why not just decriminalize Hawaii's biggest cash
crop, and tax dispensaries and growers, like grocery stores and
farmers? End of story! Why is that so hard for the politicians to
understand? It's about time government stops trying to protect people
With Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Coming Soon, the Debate Shifts to
Decriminalizing Some Drugs
Thirteen years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana, the state is
finally forging ahead with licensing marijuana dispensaries, issuing
licenses to eight applicants on Friday. As it has in other states,
that policy shift could usher in a new era of social norms. Back in
1973, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize small amounts of
cannibas for recreational use. Four decades later, Oregon voters said
yes to legalizing marijuana, as Colorado and Washington had already
done in 2012. Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have decriminalized
[continues 1148 words]
HONOLULU (AP) - With less than a week to go before the state is
scheduled to announce the names of its first medical marijuana
dispensary owners, lawmakers are considering a bill to clarify gaps
in the dispensary law passed last year.
State lawmakers discussed a bill during a hearing Monday that would
clear up tax problems and give certain nurses the ability to
recommend medical marijuana for patients. It also would allow for
interisland transport of medical marijuana for laboratory testing and
make rules for what kind of marijuana products could be sold in dispensaries.
[continues 206 words]
Once a decade, the United Nations organizes a meeting where every
country in the world comes together to figure out what to do about
drugs - and up to now, they've always pledged to wage a relentless
war, to fight until the planet is "drug-free." They've consistently
affirmed U.N. treaties written in the 1960s and 1970s, mainly by the
United States, which require every country to arrest and imprison
their way out of drug-related problems.
But at this year's meeting in New York City later this month, several
countries are going to declare: This approach has been a disaster. We
can't do this anymore. Enough.
[continues 549 words]
It seems more than a little disingenious for some to be heaping blame
on the state Department of Health (DOH) over the medical-marijuana
licensure deadline, now moved back two weeks, from Friday to April 29.
After all, it took the state Legislature some 15 years after OK'ing
medical marijuana use before it finally approved a pot-dispensaries
law last year. Huge potential for money-making could be at stake, not
to mention keiki and public safety.
The DOH did misstep when it initially tried to keep the licensee
selection panel secret, but delaying an arbitrary final deadline by
two weeks isn't as egregious as some imply.
Some Fear Dispensaries Will Limit Access and Be Cost-Prohibitive
Crippling stress, extreme pain and bad arthritis - for 72-year-old
Subhadra Corcoran, cannabis is essentially the only fix.
The Kona resident has used the drug medicinally for decades. For the
past 10 years, she's been a patient in Hawaii's medical marijuana program.
But later this year, when the state's first dispensaries can legally
begin operating, Corcoran isn't planning to use them.
"I can't afford to buy pot," said Corcoran, who said she currently
gets weed through a caregiver on the island. "I'm 72-years-old,
disabled and living off Social Security ... if they had $10 (for an
eighth of an ounce of marijuana), I would. If they would make it
affordable and my insurance would cover, of course I would. But
that's not going to happen."
[continues 606 words]
The county settled a lawsuit with a Puna man who claims police
illegally confiscated the medical marijuana growing on his Fern Acres
property almost four years ago.
The settlement with Brad Snow and three others was for a total of
$4,800. Snow filed suit in May 2014, claiming his property was
improperly raided during a marijuana eradication sweep June 14, 2012,
even though the plaintiffs had medical marijuana cards and were in
compliance with the law.
"The value of six months of marijuana growing in your backyard; they
take it, and they don't give you anything for it," Snow said Tuesday.
"They don't arrest you. They don't charge you. They just come and
take your stuff. I did not have too many plants. I did not have too
[continues 499 words]
A House Resolution Requests a Study of Portugal, Which Stopped
Lawmakers in the House of Representatives want to study whether it
would be feasible or wise to decriminalize possession of small
quantities of illicit drugs for personal use in Hawaii.
House lawmakers Tuesday passed House Concurrent Resolution 127, which
requests that the state Legislative Reference Bureau study the
experience of Portugal. That European nation officially abolished all
criminal penalties for possession of drugs for personal use in 2001.
Portugal still prosecutes major drug traffickers, but has made
possession of small amounts of drugs an administrative violation that
is handled without any criminal prosecutions. People who are caught
with small quantities of drugs may be fined, referred to drug
treatment or required to do community service.
[continues 361 words]
Not only did your newspaper make a rush to judgment (front page
headlines above the fold on March 19) the local small and big box
pharmacies have followed your lead and refuse to fill his prescriptions.
I would like to know if this is a conspiracy or mere coincidence. On
March 22 Dr. Arrington wrote a prescription to me for an opiate for
which I feel very thankful and fortunate to have been made available
for the last 25 years due to a very painful debilitating progressive
disease that will continue to painfully progress until I draw my last breath.
[continues 350 words]
State Lawmakers Ask DOH to Research That Question
HONOLULU (AP) - State lawmakers are asking how much marijuana a
driver can safely consume before getting behind the wheel of a car.
It's an issue they want to tackle now that the state is setting up
medical marijuana dispensaries. So, Rep. Cindy Evans, D-North Kona,
North Kohala and South Kohala, and 15 other lawmakers introduced a
resolution asking the state Department of Health to study whether a
person can safely drive while under the influence.
[continues 394 words]
There were two letters in today's paper (March 9, "Vote Bernie") that
were interesting and somewhat telling regarding the mentality of the
left. The first from Stan White advocating Bernie for president. While
neither he nor Clinton would be of any value to our country,
justifying a vote for someone because they would help to legalize the
use of marijuana in Hawaii is somewhat moronic.
Bernie, if elected, would attempt to bankrupt our nation with new and
yet unheard of taxes in an effort to make everything "free" to those
who are unwilling to work for a living. Perhaps Stan thinks his pot
would be free also?
[continues 233 words]
HONOLULU (AP) - Industry experts say there are a lot of chemicals
that could contaminate Hawaii's medical marijuana.
Dispensaries are set to open throughout the state in July, and
lawmakers are pushing a broad bill to address many of the obstacles
the industry is facing. One is how to regulate marijuana testing.
The proposed state law would set requirements for testing medical
marijuana's potency and also would test for contaminants such as
heavy metals, bacteria and pesticides, which industry experts say is
necessary to ensure patient safety. Under state rules, dispensaries
must send all marijuana products to a certified laboratory for testing.
[continues 286 words]
Outdated drug policies around the world have resulted in soaring
drug-related violence, overstretched criminal justice systems,
runaway corruption and mangled democratic institutions.
After reviewing the evidence, consulting drug policy experts and
examining our own failures on this front while in office, we came to
an unavoidable conclusion: The "war on drugs" is an unmitigated disaster.
FOR NEARLY a decade, we have urged governments and international
bodies to promote a more humane, informed and effective approach to
dealing with "illegal" drugs.
[continues 656 words]
Industry experts say there are a lot of chemicals that could
contaminate Hawaii's medical marijuana.
Dispensaries are set to open in Hawaii in July, and state lawmakers
are pushing a broad bill to address many of the obstacles the
industry is facing. One is how to regulate marijuana testing.
The proposed Hawaii law would set requirements for testing medical
marijuana's potency and would also test for contaminants such as
heavy metals, bacteria and pesticides, which industry experts say is
necessary to ensure patient safety. Under state rules, dispensaries
must send all marijuana products to a certified laboratory for testing.
[continues 275 words]
Nearly 2-1/2 years after California revoked a physician's medical
license for misconduct, local regulators decided Thursday to revoke
his Hawaii credentials.
But the chairman of the Hawaii Medical Board, which voted to yank the
license of Dr. Daniel Susott, said he's hoping future cases involving
Hawaii-licensed physicians disciplined in other states take less time
"We should not see cases like this anymore," Dr. Niraj Desai, who
heads the panel that makes final disciplinary decisions involving
doctors, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser after Thursday's board meeting.
[continues 594 words]
The concern about how the federal government will affect legalized
medical cannabis (marijuana) dispensaries in the Hawaiian Islands (as
a state of islands marijuana sales tricky for Hawaii, Feb. 29) is
another reason to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders on the March 26,
Democratic Presidential Primary Caucus. Sanders, is committed to
removing cannabis from its historically discredited Schedule I
substance classification alongside heroin (while meth and cocaine are
only Schedule II substances), which will allow interstate and
interisland commerce without threat from the federal government.
Feasibility Study Suggests Crop Will 'Grow Like Gangbusters'
Bills that would allow the state Department of Agriculture to create
pilot research programs for industrial hemp are moving through both
chambers of the state Legislature.
"I'm very happy that the bill is alive at this point," state Sen.
Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, said of SB 2659, the Senate measure he co-introduced.
SB 2659 and its House counterpart, HB 2555, are not companion bills,
but have the same aim of establishing the DOA research program.
[continues 574 words]
It appears there are too many questionable hands adding ingredients
to the pot regarding marijuana here in Hawaii.
Whatever is cooking is producing a stinking odor.
First, the state Department of Health said no to releasing names of
those who will decide who gets a dispensary license.
Next, marijuana has to be grown in warehouses using electricity
instead of taking advantage of our plentiful sunlight. The high cost
of electricity would drive the consumer price sky-high.
Finally the state gets gigantic tax revenues due to marijuana's high
sales price. So it seems that the state's revenue would increase from
marijuana rather than gambling.
What does the state consider worse: gambling or increasing crime and
the increased drug use that results from marijuana leading to harder drugs?
Teresa Mary Tugadi
Geography of State May Prove Challenging for Marijuana Industry
HONOLULU - With less than five months to go before medical marijuana
dispensaries can open in Hawaii, business owners could be facing
unique obstacles in a state of islands separated by federal waters.
Dispensaries can open as soon as July 15, but industry experts say
they could be confronted with challenges unlike those in other
states, such as navigating rules that ban inter-island transport and
limit the number of growers - all of which could cause marijuana
shortages. A lack of labs to test the crop presents another challenge
for state lawmakers.
[continues 562 words]
As a growing number of states recognize the importance of providing
legal access to patients who benefit from medical marijuana, it
becomes even more implausible that research is so uniquely - and
unfairly - restricted.
Patients with conditions such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress
disorder), epilepsy, chronic pain and migraines deserve research that
can determine the optimum medication content and procedure.
Even with research that has been approved by the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), federal policies require a redundant,
multi-agency review process that creates unnecessary red tape and
wasteful government spending.
[continues 518 words]
As Hawaii gets close to opening its first medical marijuana
dispensaries - some 16 years after medical cannabis was legalized -
one might expect that the major issues have been worked out.
Not so. Even as the state Department of Health labors under a
fast-approaching April 15 deadline to approve eight applications for
dispensary permits, the Legislature is busy, too - trying to change
the rules under which the Health Department is working.
It's the legislative equivalent of trying to change the tires on a
car while it's speeding down the freeway - in other words, a bad idea.
[continues 467 words]
Police Question Outdoor Growing, Reduced Penalties
Several bills being considered by the state Legislature aim to make
things easier for people in the state's medical marijuana program,
but Big Island police have a few concerns.
Senate Bill 2523, introduced by Puna Democrat Sen. Russell Ruderman,
as originally written would allow open-air growing operations,
greenhouses and shade houses to serve as medical marijuana production
centers - so long as operations aren't visible to the outside.
The idea, Ruderman said, is for plants to grow under natural sunlight
"as they've evolved to do," rather than indoors under artificial
lamps. The bill was amended Thursday to nix openair growing, and
would now take effect starting in 2017, rather than this year.
[continues 544 words]
Several bills now moving through the Legislature seek to amend the
medical marijuana law and the Department of Health's (DOH) interim
administrative rules: House Bill 2707, an omnibus bill; HB 1808 on
greenhouses; HB 2708 on background checks; Senate Bill 2176 on
oversight committees; SB 2581, another omnibus bill; SB 2175 to add
one license and regarding felonies; and SB 2581 on growing opportunities.
Some provisions would laudably remove restrictions on the use of
greenhouses, shade houses or field growing - as long as they are
enclosed by fencing, blocked from public view and have adequate
security measures. Others would wisely modify criminal background
checks for patients and caregivers and decriminalize marijuana from
Felony B and C categories.
[continues 450 words]
It will be highly lucrative for those groups awarded the medical
marijuana dispensary licenses. Unfortunately, applicants who get
chosen will be accused of undue influence and conflicts of interest.
Those who don't will likely file lawsuits. What to do? I suggest we
discard the panel to select the groups. Instead, have the state
Department of Health choose the approved applicants in a fair way
with an equal playing field.
Put the names of the approved applicants on ping-pong balls, put the
balls in a bingo cage, turn the cage and have the governor pull out
eight balls to determine the groups awarded the licenses.
It would be transparent and fair, and avoid conflicts of interest as
well as lawsuits.
Lawmakers Are Considering Loosening Dispensary Rules and Allowing Greenhouses
Advanced practice registered nurses, who already prescribe
prescription drugs, could start certifying patients for medical
marijuana under a bill passed out of committee Wednesday.
House Bill 2707, one of roughly 60 bills related to medical
marijuana, also permits pot samples to be transported interisland for
testing and eliminates penalties for patients who use paraphernalia,
such as pipes and vape pens, to take their medicine. Friday is an
internal deadline to move bills to the next committee to keep them alive.
[continues 569 words]
Remember "government of the people, by the people and for the people"?
The state Department of Health has the fate of thousands of medical
marijuana patients in its hands.
Who decided that nobody is supposed to know who is on the dispensary
application approval team, or who picked them ("Panel, process for
pot licenses to remain secret," Star-Advertiser, Feb. 10)?
Sounds like Big Brother knows what is best for everyone.
And for that matter, why not just have free enterprise? The number of
pharmacies per county should not be limited by the state.
But Whether the Health Department Has Finalized the Committee Is Unclear
The state Health Department reversed course Friday, saying it will
release the names of medical marijuana dispensary committee members
before the panel grants Hawaii's first licenses for legal pot sales.
On Tuesday the agency said it would keep secret the names of the
panelists who are to select eight winning applications from the 66
that were submitted last month. The decision to keep the selection
process secret drew a sharp rebuke from lawmakers. The Honolulu
Star-Advertiser also threatened to sue the state if the names were
[continues 612 words]
Oahu Publications Says It Is Prepared to Sue If the Heath Department Refuses
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser told the state Health Department on
Thursday it will file a lawsuit if the agency does not release by the
close of business today the names of committee members who will award
Hawaii's first medical marijuana dispensary licenses.
Jeff Portnoy, attorney for the Star-Advertiser's parent company, Oahu
Publications Inc., delivered the notice to the Department of Health
demanding it disclose the names.
[continues 661 words]
The people in the know clearly know the crucial fact about the new
medical marijuana dispensary enterprise: It's going to be big
business - very big.
That, as well as the fact that only eight licenses will be awarded,
has turned those permits into valuable commodities.
And it's turned the process of selecting the licensees into a matter
of public interest - one that should be done with as much
transparency as possible.
Unfortunately, the state Department of Health, which is administering
the fledgling program, has decided that the best course to fairness
is to sequester the people making the decision: its review panel. In
this way, DOH officials have said, the panelists would not be open to
[continues 464 words]
The state Health Department said Tuesday it will neither release the
names of committee members who will select the winners of Hawaii's
eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses nor disclose any
information about the selection process.
The department received 66 applications for the dispensary licenses
and will determine by April 15 who is granted the right to open the
first legal marijuana shops in Hawaii later this year.
"It is critical that the selection process be conducted without
external influence and disruption, so that applicants are scored
solely on their application and the merit criteria," said Janice
Okubo, spokeswoman for the Department of Health. "To ensure the
integrity of the selection process, DOH will not be releasing any
additional information about applicants, the application process or
evaluation panel at this time."
[continues 715 words]