Medical Marijuana Gets Another Look

August 28, 2008

Hilo, Hawaii — Despite Gov. Linda Lingle’s veto of a measure that would have tightened gaps in Hawai’i’s medical marijuana laws, state lawmakers vowed yesterday to reintroduce legislation in the upcoming 2009 session.

“We had this bill to address problems with our law,” said Rep. Joe Bertram III, D-11th (Makena, Wailea, Kihei). “Our state law is so vague that patients don’t know how to get medical cannabis for legitimate use.”

Lingle’s veto of the bill last month left muddy issues that a task force would have aired: legal distribution, transportation and how federal and state laws interact, Bertram said.

Bertram and Rep. John Mizuno, D-30th (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Fort Shafter), yesterday invited law enforcement officials, physicians, a law professor and members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i to air their concerns that will be melded into bills for the upcoming legislative session that will begin in January.

To be effective, a state law must remove criminal penalties for patients using or possessing medical marijuana, Bertram said.

Patients and primary caregivers on an approved list are exempt from state law prohibiting marijuana possession, but not federal law.

Hawai’i is one of 12 states that have laws allowing qualified patients to use marijuana. Today more than 4,000 patients are registered with the state Narcotics Enforcement Division and are allowed to legally grow and use the drug.

Hawai’i was the first state to allow medical use of marijuana by a law enacted in 2000.


Complete Article:

Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)



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