Saturday, May 24, 2008


BITING THE HAND: Though a headline in the local Kaua`i paper today trumpeted “Choppers do heavy lifting” in a fluff piece on an air-lift of air conditioning units, on the Big Island there’s real news regarding helicopters- they will no longer be swooping down to harass medical marijuana patients or anyone else over there as their council rejected $441,000 the feds offered for their “Green Harvest” marijuana eradication program.

But if anyone thinks the cops are taking it lying down journalist-blogger Hunter Bishop has news that they are threatening that if they don’t do it, the feds may..

In a piece entitled “Scare tactics used for pot eradication” he writes
“A DEA spokesman and Police Chief Lawrence Mahuna... threatened that if the
County refuses the money, then a more heavy-handed DEA would arrive on our
shores with violence in mind. Here's the DEA's Garrison Courtney:
dealers and people responsible for growing illegal marijuana crops are ’not
going to greet you with a smile and a handshake’ he said."’The unfortunate part
about drug enforcement is the violence,’ Courtney said.

“When law enforcement authorities show up at a home of a person responsible for growing large quantities of marijuana, because there's usually a lot of cash at stake and the notion the person will end up in jail for a long time, ‘there's going to be violence,’ he said.”

But Bishop begs to differ and documents how in nine pot arrests in the past 14 months in Puna:

“(i)n each case all the elements Courtney cited were there except violence. Perusing the Police Department's Web site, I couldn't find one reported incident of violence in connection with the arrest of any marijuana growers on the island in the past 14 months. Now the DEA sees violence where none now exists if the Council doesn't kowtow to the feds and take the marijuana eradication money.

“Chief Mahuna plays into the argument that if our police
officers aren't funded for the task then the DEA will move in, so he can get more funding for his department.”

Well, at least the politicians on the Big Island have the guts to stop the operation that is actually causing the methamhetamine epidemic as we discussed recently.

Though the money is routinely accepted by the Kaua`i Council, with the exception of one year when some members of the public questioned the activity. That gives the macho men of the Council and KPD a flag to wave and lets them act like chest pounding apes. But routinely, the question of accepting the money is never broached.

Rather than seeing the epidemic of methamhetamine abuse with all its intricacies as a social problem the first reaction of the Baptiste Administration was to call for more interdiction and introduce a measure to house our wayward kids in the old dog pound- the latter the brainchild of the local crony who was hired to be his “drug czar” a few years back..

There are limited numbers of dollars to spend on the problem and to put almost all of them into law enforcement and few if any into treatment and especially aftercare is like the proverbial pulling the bodies out of the river rather than sending someone upstream to find out who’s throwing them in.

The term “harm reduction” is a concept that clear seeing and thinking people use to actually do something about their problems like giving birth control to sexually active kids or needles to heroin addicts. But people who care more about their political reputation and pushy religious delusions look to “send a message”, as if these people were listening to anyone about anything they say in the first place.

Anyone can figure it out. Some kids are going to do things we’d rather they didn’t. If all you do is tell them how terrible whatever the activity is and how you’ll be sooooo disappointed- not to mention angry enough to kick them out of the house or beat them silly as many parents threaten- you’re not stopping them just making sure they won’t let you find out until it’s too late.

The effects of marijuana are fairly innocuous. There are no long term effects whatsoever. No one has ever died from using pot. There certainly are, and they do, from using alcohol and pharmaceuticals.

So the question is would you rather your kid smoke a little pot or have them drinking booze and smoking ice. It’s not gonna be your favorite question to have to answer but it is a valid either/or choice nonetheless.... because “just say no” and D.A.R.E. are well-known, counterintuitive, ineffective jokes.

It isn’t encouraging anything to acknowledge the reality involved.

Next year look to this space for the announcement of the agenda item when it comes up before the Council for the same funds that the Big Island Council have rejected. And if you want to do something show up because this conversation isn’t going to hold itself.

It’s not a matter of giving kids pot or encouraging them to use any drug. If it’s out there, they will get it. And if it’s not out there they will get something else- deal with it. Otherwise there are two choices left- money for treatment-on-demand and after-care or more money to build jails for our kids who make bad decisions.

And if you’re one of those people who are actually causing everything from huffing to pill-popping by living in a state of denial at least get out of the way of those who have a workable solution that reduces the harm you are causing our kids through your shortsightedness.

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