Kokua Line: Law doesn’t let patients smoke medical cannabis in public
Question: My workplace shares a parking structure with other businesses and government agencies. The parking structure also is open to the public.
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Question: My workplace shares a parking structure with other businesses and government agencies. The parking structure also is open to the public. Sometimes after work a strong smell of marijuana hangs in the air as I walk to my car. One day I walked around to see where it was coming from, and there was a guy sitting in a car smoking, with the windows down. He said, “It’s OK. It’s medical,” and they drove away (he was a passenger). Is this legal?
Answer: No, even if the man was a patient in Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Registry Program. State law doesn’t allow medical cannabis to be used in a public place, workplace or moving vehicle, says “The Medical Use of Cannabis: A Guide to Hawaii’s Law for Patients and Medical Professionals.”
“Even when registered in the program, the Act specifically prohibits use of medical cannabis in any public place, in a bus or moving vehicle, in the workplace, on school grounds, or any use that endangers the health or well being of another person. In addition, ‘use’ includes ‘transportation’ which is expressly prohibited in public places unless the medical cannabis is:
1) In a sealed container,
2) Not visible to the public, and
3) Not removed from the sealed container or consumed in any way while it is in the public place,” according to the guide, which was published by the nonprofit Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.” You can read it at dpfhi.org/guidebook.
Q: Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to get a gold-star license?
A: No. The U.S. REAL ID Act lists categories of immigrants eligible for a license recognized for official federal purposes, commonly known as a gold-star license. These include lawful permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, conditional residents, asylees, refugees, nonimmigrants, asylum applicants, people who have applied for or been granted temporary protected status, people granted deferred action and people who have applied to adjust to lawful permanent residence, according to the National Immigration Law Center, citing Section 202(b)(B) of the federal law.
As a practical matter, it says, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has certified as REAL ID-compliant states that issue gold-star licenses to a broader group of lawfully present noncitizens than the law specifically mentions. “DHS appears to be concerned with ensuring that states verify the lawful presence of applicants for REAL ID- compliant licenses rather than insisting that applicants fall within the arbitrarily limited categories listed in the REAL ID Act,” the law center says on its website.
To obtain a Hawaii gold-star driver’s license or state ID, applicants need to verify their legal name, date of birth, legal U.S. presence, Social Security number and that they live in Hawaii.
Any citizen or noncitizen in Hawaii who wants to check whether they have the correct documents to apply for a REAL ID-compliant credential may use the city’s interactive document guide at 808ne.ws/docguide, before making a trip to the DMV. The click-through guide diverges after the citizenship question so that you, a noncitizen, will see what document you could use to verify your legal presence, such as a green card.
For accuracy, it’s best to have your documents on hand as you click through the guide. That’s true for citizens and noncitizens alike.
A big mahalo to the senior couple who gave our two granddaughters lei, lovingly made by the husband. The pleasant surprise happened at the New Eagle Cafe on July 8. May your kindness be returned to you both a thousand times. — Another senior couple
Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email email@example.com.