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Lawmakers see legalized pakalolo as a 'logical and reasonable' step

By Associated Press

POSTED:



Several key Hawaii lawmakers want to legalize marijuana in the Aloha State.

House Speaker Joseph Souki (D, Wai­hee-Wai­ehu-Wai­luku) and House Majority Leader Scott Saiki introduced a bill to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by people ages 21 years or older.

Nine lawmakers co-sponsored a similar bill in the state Senate.

The move comes in the wake of marijuana legalization in Colo­rado and Washington last year.

Despite his support for the initiative, Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully) said he doesn't think there's enough support for the bill in the House.

"I'm not holding my breath on whether this will pass or not," he said.

Even so, Saiki said he thinks it is important to discuss the issue, which he calls a matter of individual choice, because it has evolved over time.

The senators who sponsored the bill to legalize the drug say that doing so will decrease crime rates and help Hawaii's economy.

They say legalizing the substance is "natural, logical and reasonable" given current scientific research and public opinion.

Opponents, including House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson, say the senators have it wrong. They believe legalization might increase crime.

"I'd rather exercise more caution than have to worry about controlling the extra societal costs," Johanson (R, Fort Shafter-Moana­lua Gardens-Alia­manu) said.

Saiki acknowledged that there are "significant public safety concerns" associated with his proposal that led him to add quantity limits and other regulations to the measure.

Johanson says there are mixed feelings toward legalization in the minority caucus.

Medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii. The Legislature has considered bills to legalize the substance for recreational use in the past and faced opposition from the law enforcement community.

Michelle Yu, spokes­woman for the Hono­lulu Police Department, said the department opposes legalizing marijuana. She says that the drug has a high potential for addiction and abuse.

Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kane­shiro is also opposed to marijuana legalization.

The state Legislature will consider at least 18 bills related to marijuana this session.






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Lanikaula wrote:
"I'm not holding my breath on whether this will pass or not," he said. WELL!! U CAN hold your breath...just DON'T inhale! In fact the longer u do the 'higher' u get!! "I'd rather exercise more caution than have to worry about controlling the extra societal costs," Yeah, like toooooo much laughing might be detrimental for your health. "Saiki acknowledged that there are "significant public safety concerns"...yeah, there may be too many happy and overweight people fighting over the last candy bar in the streets of Honolulu due to an attack of the munchies. Wow guys light it up...er, i mean lighten up...sheeesh!
on January 25,2013 | 02:11AM
Slow wrote:
Does Michelle Wu, in addition to being the spokeswoman for HPD, also write for Augie T? Or is she simply dumb?
on January 25,2013 | 03:31AM
Bdpapa wrote:
What is wrong with them? Don't legalize another intoxicant, down the law to a misdemeanor for possession less than an ounce in the same packaging.
on January 25,2013 | 05:23AM
wondermn1 wrote:
The reality is that if Pot is expensive and the real drugs like ice and coke are cheap then the people will use the ice and coke which are sold by underground dealers who at this time also sell pot. If they legalize pot the price will come down and not nearly as many will switch to the real bad drugs becasue they won't associate with the hard drug sellers. I am in favor of recreational use of pot as well as medical use and hopefully this will get the drug dealers away from our children.
on January 25,2013 | 07:21AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Pot is much cheaper! My close relatives were addicts, I know the cost.
on January 25,2013 | 08:50AM
anon2 wrote:
like we need more stoned drivers on the road...
on January 25,2013 | 05:31AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
"Michelle Yu, spokes­woman for the Hono­lulu Police Department, said the department opposes legalizing marijuana. She says that the drug has a high potential for addiction and abuse."

I'd like to hear more about this "Marijuana Addiction" that Michelle Wu and the HPD is so concerned about. What sort of withdrawal do these marijuana "addicts" experience? What sort of violent crime and property crime do marijuana addicts commit to get high?

Michele Wu and the HPD do us all a disservice by claiming that there is such a thing as marijuana addiction like there is ice addiction, heroin addiction, meth addiction, nicotine addiction, and alcoholism. There simply isn't.

We hear over and over again that its not the police force's fault that they scour the islands with low flying helicopters and arrest people caught with marijuana; they are just enforcing the law. But when it comes time to change that law, suddenly they start a campaign of misinformation.

The are no marijuaina addicts. They don't exist. You do have people who like to smoke it a lot.

Here is what the venerable medical textbook the "Merck Manual" says about marijuana addiction: "Any drug that causes euphoria and diminishes anxiety can cause dependence, and marijuana is no exception. However, heavy use and reports of inability to stop are unusual. Critics of marijuana cite much scientific data regarding adverse effects, but most claims of significant biologic effect are unsubstantiated" This is from a large and detailed general medical textbook with no ax to grind.

I encourage our police and legislators to move is closer to a more sensible drug policy. If, a year from now, those low flying helicopters are involved in an "ice harvest" I'd be please to see it, but right now, our focus on enforcement of marijuana laws only promotes the use and abuse of truly devastating drugs like meth.
on January 25,2013 | 06:46AM
DowntownGreen wrote:
Thanks for injecting reasonableness and FACTS into the conversation. Shame on Ms. Yu...she should know better.
on January 25,2013 | 03:21PM
TTPwr wrote:
California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To Record Low: Study http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/california-marijuana-decriminalization-_n_2205997.html
on January 25,2013 | 06:58AM
olos73 wrote:
Before HPD start commenting on this, they should clean up their act first. How many of their officers deal, grow or use pakalolo? And what about meth distribution? How many of their officers are in prison because of this?
on January 25,2013 | 07:26AM
Tom938 wrote:
Finally,a money grab I can get behind. Legalize it and tax it, already! Bet there'd be some high-schoolers willing to work on a farm then.
on January 25,2013 | 08:13AM
konag43 wrote:
our legislators are nothing but idiots. the people of hawaii and the police department and the federal government are fighting hard against drug use and here come our legislators wanting to legalize mj. watch out employers here come the pot heads. cut fingers, dropped boxes, botched surgerys, commercial trucks running into other vehicles etc etc etc. people of hawaii you need to stop this asap in its tracks. contact your legislators and strongly disagree with this bill.
on January 25,2013 | 09:47AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
konag43 wrote: "our legislators are nothing but idiots. the people of hawaii and the police department and the federal government are fighting hard against drug use and here come our legislators wanting to legalize mj. watch out employers here come the pot heads. cut fingers, dropped boxes, botched surgerys, commercial trucks running into other vehicles etc etc etc. people of hawaii you need to stop this asap in its tracks. contact your legislators and strongly disagree with this bill."

Currently there is another drug called "Alcohol." It *is* addictive, and unlike marijuana, too much of it can kill you AND withdrawing from it can kill you too. It kills liver and brain cells, and is for sale at every convenience market and I'lll bet you even have some in your house right now. Have you been cutting *your* fingers, dropping boxes, running into other cars and botching surgical operations?

The ready availability of beer, wine and spirits didn't turned our operating rooms, warehouses, and truck drivers into one giant "Three Stooges" movie. Why do you think marijuana will?
on January 25,2013 | 12:28PM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
This law is about legalizing a plant that has been found to be very useful for medicinal purpose. We have many other substances that are legal that cost us in terms of human lives such as alcohol. In fact, we have vodka which is almost pure alcohol. We the people have a right to use a plant that was freely given to us by God. Although I do not use this plant I believe that marijana laws are simply unjust. Many people use this plant and they are contributing members of society. It is not more dangerous than alchohol or tobacco. Despite that we spend billions each year incarcerating citizens over the use of this plant. Millions of people are behind bars because of this plant. Millions that could be contributing members of society. Other cultures of the ages have used this plant and past presidents have admitted to using it also. One of our former presidents, Thomas Jefferson, cultivated this plant. Unfortunately, this plant will not be legalized due to the fact that our law enforcement community would lose the billions of dollars that are used to enforce laws pertaining to this plant.
on January 25,2013 | 11:15AM
hanoz808 wrote:
alocohol kills!
on January 25,2013 | 02:18PM
control wrote:
There is nothing reasonable or logical about it. Modern day pakalolo is nothing like the maui-wowie of the 60's. Its the version on steroids times 10.
on January 25,2013 | 02:57PM
MrGlenn wrote:
so perhaps people will self titrate. and @control, if you do not understand what that means, may I introduce you to Google?
on January 25,2013 | 10:07PM
soshaljustic wrote:
Does not matter if the state legalizes-Still federally illegal. Perhaps the state could legalize into a class II status drug for ease of prescribing by the treating physician;zoning for agricultural growth rather than personal growth thereby using retail drug outlets already dispensing class II pharma. In that regard it would be easier for Medical Id and HPD to track those that have prescription usage. Also easier to work with Ag growers on quality and quantity zoning permits??
on January 25,2013 | 04:25PM
st1d wrote:
not a user. however, after sitting bedside with friends and family who suffer from cancer, i know that cancer cures like chemo and radiation treatments can bring on severe nausea, vomiting fits and a lack of appetite. the patient withers away before your eyes, as the cure kills before the cancer does.

having a tool like medical marijuana to assist in fighting off these symptoms would be a blessing to cancer patients and may extend their precious lives.


on January 25,2013 | 05:55PM
spikey06 wrote:
Lets face it the big 3 against decriminalizing weed are; 1) Alcohol industry Lobby- they don't want any competition 2) Law Enforcement Lobby- they will loose millions of $$ a year in grants for "eradication" funding and overtime flying around. 3) Tobacco Industry Lobby- obvious reasons, but they will replant to meet market demands & shareholder dividends.
on January 27,2013 | 12:19PM
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