Saturday, August 16, 2008

SNIFFIN’ THE WRONG PACKAGE

SNIFFIN’ THE WRONG PACKAGE: It sounds like KPD has nothing better to do than bust low level drug offenders, according to an article in today’s local paper.

Apparently 24 “targeted street level users and dealers as well as mid-level dealers” were arrested over the last 2 ½ days, for various “drug” offenses.

No telling if, as is usually the case, the “dealers” were actually “overcharged” users or if the rights of the “innocent until proven guilty” were violated during the raids as the Kaua`i vice squad has famously been accustomed to doing for many years.

We can only hope that the reported presence of “members of the Maui Police Department, Hawai`i County Police Department and United States Marshals Service” kept their overzealous ways in check this time

But the lack of a mention of what specific “drugs” were involved makes us wonder how many were simple marijuana users and, if so, what the heck we’re doing using our already short staffed and thinly-funded police department for busting people for using an innocuous safe and effective medication.

Going after “street level users” of any drug is really absurd enough. Even if the type of drug being “used” is dangerous and destructive like methamhetamine, these people have a treatable illness and the fact that treatment-on-demand in virtually unavailable especially on Kaua`i speaks to the bass ackward nature of what our priorities are.

It raises the question as to how disconnected we on Kaua`i are from realties that are sweeping the rest of the country and, as reported recently, on the Big Island where people will be voting this year on a measure to make “personal use of marijuana a lower priority than all other laws”.

According to Big Island journalist/blogger Hunter Bishop

The Peaceful Skies petition that fell short of getting onto the November ballot by more than 2,000 signatures was revived by the Hawaii County Council on a 5-4 vote about an hour ago in Kona.

So a question will be on the November general election ballot that, if passed by a majority of voters, would direct the county Police Department to make enforcement of marijuana laws Hawaii County's lowest law enforcement priority.

According to the ordinance itself:

(t)he citizens of the Cities of Hailey, Idaho; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Columbia, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Santa Barbara, Oakland, Santa Monica, and Santa Cruz, in California, and the citizens of Missoula County, Montana, all voted for Cannabis (marijuana) to be placed as law enforcement’s lowest law enforcement priority within the past five years.

But Kaua`i continues to dwell in the dark ages preferring to still persecute and prosecute the personal use of pakalolo and waste our resources in doing so.

According to a summery in the Hawai`i Tribune Herald the proposed ordinance- available in full at the Project Peaceful Sky web site- would, if passed,

-Make the possession of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority for all cases, when the amount involved is less than 24 plants or 24 dried ounces, and the marijuana is on private property or being used on private property by people age 21 or older. (The distribution and sale or marijuana will not be protected. The use of marijuana on public property will not be protected.)

- Prevent law enforcement officials from being deputized or commissioned by the federal government for applicable marijuana cases.

- Prevent the County Council from accepting any funding for the handling of applicable marijuana cases.

- Prevent the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney from prosecuting applicable marijuana cases to the extent permitted by state law.

- Prevent the county from spending any money for the handling of applicable marijuana cases.

- Prevents the County Council from accepting any funds for marijuana eradication.

- Have the County Council work with the Police Department to develop a grievance procedure for individuals who believe they were wrongly prosecuted.

- Require a report every June 1 and Dec. 1 about the county's enforcement of marijuana laws.

- Require a letter from the county clerk every June 1 to the mayor, state lawmakers, Hawaii’s congressional delegation, the governor and the president. The letter will include this sentence: “The citizens of the County of Hawaii ... request that the federal and state branches of government remove criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession and use of Cannabis for adult personal use ...” These letters will continue “until state and federal laws are changed accordingly”

Yet all we hear is wacko postulates and fear mongering from our local politicians who believe the shibai of “gateway drug” and other absurd “reefer madness” rantings of those whose jobs depend on defending us from the scourge of marijuana.

While a short 500 miles away on the Big Island rationality apparently reigns

Stated in the findings of the ordinance are the following:

(a) The Institute of Medicine has found that Cannabis (marijuana) has medicinal value and is not a gateway drug.

(b) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the use of Cannabis (marijuana) directly results in 0 (zero) deaths per year.

(c) According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the marijuana eradication program has not stopped Cannabis cultivation in the County of Hawai`i, rather the program has only decreased the availability of the plant, which increases it’s ‘street’ value, resulting in more crime.

(d) The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) also reported that a large increase of the use of methamhetamine, crack cocaine, and other hard drugs was related to the marijuana eradication program’s implementation.

(e) According to public record, the ‘mandatory program review’ for the marijuana eradication program, required by Section 3-16 of the County Charter to be performed at least once every 4 years, has never been performed in the 30 years that the program has existed.

(f) Law abiding adults are being arrested and imprisoned for nonviolent Cannabis offenses, clogging our court dockets, overcrowding our prisons, tying up valuable law enforcement resources and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in Hawai`i County alone each year.

When the heck are we going to wake up over here?.

Even if somehow you’re been brainwashed to think marijuana is a “dangerous drug” it’s impossible to deny that the “ice” epidemic is specifically tied to the eradication of marijuana as (c) states.

And nowhere is it more true than on Kaua`i.

It’s impossible to rationally dispute the fact that people who are prone to use drugs and can’t get “pot” turn to what’s available. And here and in other places- what’s available is methamhetamine and other more dangerous. drugs

There are, however, a growing number of progressive communities who have come to grips with this and no matter what they think of personal use of marijuana, they’ve figured out that if nothing else “harm reduction” is a no-brainer

But Mayoral candidate Mel Rapozo, and our next prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho routinely applaud and fund marijuana eradication with a psychopathic zeal while waxing poetic on the dangers of the evil weed.

They and the other five current councilmembers- and all past ones as well- have never opposed eradication much less the stridency of the local over-the-top rabid marijuana enforcement efforts.

As a matter of fact it’s plain to many that by any rational analysis politicians who support marijuana eradication and refuse to support legislation to basically stop enforcement of laws against its personal use can only be called a murderers.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it..

6 comments:

Andrew Cooper said...

Seem strange for you to be referring to us over on the Big Island as sensible. But in this case you may be right. I am going to have to give the ordinance a good reading, but I will probably vote for it.

Ace Harbinger said...

Yeah, but did you notice the TGI report this morning that "some 25 community members were in attendance" to hear the views of our mayoral candidates, at the KukaKuka gathering? 25! Wow! We are on the crest of a voter tsunami here.

Looks like you missed nothing, Bernard.

- A.H.

Joan said...

It's very interesting that the Big Island Council revived the measure after it failed in the petition drive. Will be fascinating to see if it gets passed, and what kind of campaign is waged against it.

In the meantime, I'm reminded of that bumper sticker that says something to the effect of: "Thanks to Green Harvest, now we've got ice."

We definitely need to get real about our priorities, and stop waging war on marijuana and locking up drug users — especially when we haven't even provided them with an opportunity to get treatment. But guess we've gotta keep feeding that giant prison complex we've created, even if it means serving up the hapless, ill and disenfranchised members of our society.

Kolea said...

Thanks for highlighting (no pun intended) the Big Island initiative.The rest of the state should pay attention to the BI. I would note the council's push for publicly financed elections and now this. And, of course, they have Harry Kim, one of the least ego-laden politicians in the state.

I don't smoke pot myself, but I wish all the ice tweakers would!

In theory, we have the glorious idea that different states and different localities can determine for themselves how best to arrange their affairs, experimenting with various ideas for the mutual edification of other communities. "Laboratories of democracy"! There really needs to be more of this, instead of the deadening mono-culture being imposed across the country--hell, across the world.

richfigel said...

Just wanted to let you know I posted a link to your blog about the Kauai arrests in my "Addicted to..." blog for the Advertiser.

Here's the link:
http://addictedto.honadvblogs.com/

Please keep me posted on Kauai drug news and tips. Am trying to educate the public on Oahu about the failed War on Drugs strategy, and need all the back-up I can get!

Aloha,
Rich Figel

harrispaul333 said...

Prevent the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney from prosecuting applicable marijuana cases to the extent permitted by state law...thankyou..
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harris
http://www.marijuanaaddictiontreatment.com