Saturday, March 7, 2009

Musings: Sooner or Later

Sometimes I’ve just got to get in the water, no matter how windy or cool or rainy the weather is, and since today was one of them, and Koko’s always good to go, we headed out to our favorite beach and slip-slided down a muddy path to the sand. She had a great time frolicking on land while I frolicked in the sea and when it started raining really hard we headed back, me with the hood up on my sweatshirt, she with her ears and tail down. And as we piled, wet and sandy, into my old car, red clay-stained beach towels protecting the seats, I was once again glad that I don’t have the kind of automobile or dress code or make-up regime that might cause me to miss out on these little adventures. They’re such juicy, joyful bits of life.

As we neared the house, it became evident it had been pouring mauka while we were away at the coast. The trail had turned into a rapidly flowing river of brown water that broke, where the road Ts, into four smaller streams rushing downhill, puddling. It’s headed back to the source, where we were, sooner or later.

With all the many troubles before him, I was glad to see that President Obama moved sooner, rather than later, on his campaign promise to stop federal raids of state-approved medical marijuana clubs. Regardless of how one feels about medical mj, the fed’s heavy-handed approach came off like jack-booting, trampling citizen and state rights.

Now that the fear of federal raids is gone, maybe Hawaii will ease up a bit on its own Calvinistic approach to medical mj. The Honolulu Weekly had a good cover story on the topic, pointing out that even though patients can legally use it, many can’t easily get it.

As Editor Ragnar Carlson reports, Maui Rep. Joe Bertram Sen. Bertram, and others introduced a bill to resolve some of the problems in Hawaii’s law:

“How are patients supposed to get their medicine,” [Jeanne Ohta, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i] asks. “Particularly people who live in condos, on military bases, people who live where their plants would have to be visible. We don’t have an effective distribution system. That’s the number one problem.”

Bertram’s bill seeks to remedy that problem. The bill establishes a production of the plants by certified small farms catering to no more than 14 patients each. It also creates a tax-stamp system designed to allow caregivers to facilitate access of patients to the medicine. “We think this is a massive improvement,” Bertram says. “Our bill closely mirrors what New Mexico has done.” That state’s system, enacted last year, has won praise from medical marijuana advocates for creating an effective system of production and distribution and from law enforcement officials for tightly controlling who is allowed access to the marijuana.

The bill seems to have stalled out, along with a similar bill in the Senate and another House bill that seeks to make the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana a civil offense, subject to a $100 fine.

Even if they had passed the Lege, it's not likely they would have made it past Lingle. Last year she vetoed a billl for a committee to even study the options. Now that’s kinda close-minded.

Still, at least our lawmakers are thinking about these matters, from both humanitarian and practical perspectives, and trying to take a sensible approach. The state can’t afford to be jailing people for this kind of stuff, says Rep. Hanohano. Besides, if you have small farms licensed to grow da crip for patients, it helps support local agriculture and works as a grassroots economic stimulus package, too.

Think of it as shovel ready projects, all ready to go.


Anonymous said...

ya, hawaii needs more pot..

Anonymous said...

If Lingle's biopsy comes back positive and she needs chemo, she might want to reconsider

Anonymous said...

right b/ it has been well established via peer reviewed medial studies that most cancer patients need pot, and the pill form of the active ingredient will just not do (even if subsidized)

Anonymous said...

"Think of it as shovel ready projects, all ready to go."


Thank you Joan.

Anonymous said...

If cannabis was legalized, it would divert funds from bad people like Mexican gangs to organic farmers. It would bring hundreds of millions of dollars to Hawaii. Talk about instant jobs and economy: farmers, seed companies, bars, "coffeeshops", headshops, restaurants, hotels, rental cars, in fact I cannot think of a single economy that legalizing cannabis would hurt, except lowering the profit for prisons and spending billions on S.W.A.T. style law enforcement.
A law now protects taro, a sacred plant to Hawaiians. Humans have been utilizing cannabis for a recorded ~5,000 years. Who is it now that will tell us humans, taxpayers and voters that we cannot use a wild plant that has never killed a human...1930's corporate greed and then Nixon. Whatever lack of education Kapa'a school has provided me, I am certain that trusting President Nixon that cocaine is safer than cannabis is, well, fill in your own blank.