Medical Marijuana Patients In Hawaii County Are Under Attack

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Police take 1 1/2 hours to respond to a 911 call for help, then blame the patient

Kona Buds Stolen by Police?

On December 28, 2010, in the Hawaiian Acres subdivision, medical marijuana patient Brad Snow caught a man in his yard stealing his medical marijuana plants. He immediately called 911, and was immediately put on hold. Eventually he got through to ask for help — but it took the Hawaii county police 1 1/2 hours to respond to his report of a robbery-in-progress. During that time Brad was attacked by the robber. After assaulting Brad, the robber easily escaped long before the police arrived. When the police finally did arrive they made excuses for the lengthy delay, saying a shift change was to blame. This is how it is in most medical marijuana robbery cases in Hawaii county: patients rarely if ever get any help from the police. Luckily Brad was not seriously injured or killed by the violent thief. One of the officers on the scene took Brad aside and — after stating she did not know what the medical marijuana law was (she had not read it) — proceeded to accuse Brad of selling marijuana, saying he would not have been targeted and robbed otherwise.  Brad also knew that if he had defended himself and the intruder was hurt or killed, he would go to prison. That’s how it works in Hawaii county.  Brad Snow was robbed, threatened and attacked by a violent criminal — and then was treated like a criminal by the police because he called for their help.

Most cannabis patients in Hawaii county are aware that a medical patient from Hawaiian Ocean View, Kevin Metcalf, shot and killed a violent thief that had repeatedly robbed him. In a similar situation to what Brad Snow and many others find themselves, the police couldn’t or wouldn’t help. Even though the thief had a lengthy criminal record, including five convictions for felony burglary, two for felony theft and was a registered sex offender, the prosecutor charged Metcalf with second degree murder. Prosecutor Rick Damerville, told the judge that Metcalf was “addicted to marijuana”. He was convicted of manslaughter and of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The jury was not allowed to hear the extensive criminal history of the thief. Dammerville is the same prosecutor that just argued for a 90 day sentence for a well connected Hawaii county fireman who got drunk and killed another man by running over him. The fireman, Konrad Mossman, fled the scene and lied to police about what happened. The prosecutor Damerville sounded more like a defense attorney in that case. The man killed by Mossman was poor and unconnected, while Mossman is a well known fireman well-connected to the police and prosecutors who covered for him. Police never even impounded the truck Mossman was driving when he left 22-year old Tim Sing to die on the road, nor did they secure the scene. Crime scene photos were taken with a cell phone camera.

Marijuana patients, on the other hand, cannot even defend them self against the most violent robberies. The Metcalf case in conjunction with the numerous arrest and prosecution of legal medical marijuana patients has sent a chill through the medical marijuana community. The police and prosecutors are not trusted, they treat the patients as criminals and consistently seek to find ways to arrest them and send them to jail.

Now lets compare that to a recent break in at the THCF Medicinal Gardens in Portland Oregon on Sunday, January 23, 2011. The alarm system went off as 4 individuals broke-in to the THCF garden. The alarm company called the police and Paul Stanford the CEO of THCF. The police were on the scene in three minutes. Two hours after the thieves broke-in, the forensic investigation continued. As the police arrived, the thieves were still in the building. A police dog confronted them, and two were arrested. Two of the hapless felons got away, but left a van and a truck behind. The police were very polite, friendly and professional with Mr. Stanford. That is how these robberies are supposed to be handled by police; yet we see a significant difference in the policy and attitude of the Hawaii county police department.

The Hawaii county police and prosecutor do not like the medical marijuana law and they put Brad Snow’s life in danger because of it. The 5000 plus medical marijuana patients that live in Hawaii county are treated like criminals. But they are not the criminals here. It is the police that should be brought up on charges by the prosecutor and their superiors — except that is where this policy is initiated with a wink and a nod.

Kevin Metcalf

Medical marijuana patients like Brad Snow are stuck in a legal limbo. The police refuse to respect the medical marijuana laws and the criminals know it. Criminals and police together are actively preying on these medical patients in concert because of the policy of the police, prosecutor, mayor and county council. The patients are at the mercy of violent criminals because police refuse to respond or investigate crimes against them. Despite the laws that allow patients who go through the burdensome process required to get a blue card (a medical license to use marijuana) from the state, no one is willing to help or protect these lawful citizens, including judges, the mayor, the county council, the state attorney general, or the feds. Medical marijuana patients are second class citizens in Hawaii county, and as such are considered fair game. They can make excuses for their conduct but the bottom line is that police in Hawaii county look at medical marijuana patients as drug abusers even though a doctor has certified they are ill. Cannabis is the most strictly regulated medical drug in the state, but still there is a stigma put on anyone who uses it, and they become targets. A campaign of intimidation has been perpetrated at the highest levels in the police department, prosecutors office, and the State Department of Narcotics Enforcement that oversees the medical marijuana program. One of the most vulnerable sectors of the community, residents with serious health problems that are best treated with cannabis are singled out by criminals and the police and repeatedly victimized with no recourse. When patients call the police they are treated like criminals — if the police even bother to respond. It’s common knowledge on the Big Island that the police are arresting legal medical marijuana patients, for any number of reasons, and prosecutors are vigorously pursuing criminal drug cases against them even when they are within the legal limits.

What many don’t know is that it doesn’t end there. In what could be described as a deliberate policy of intimidation and harassment, incidents involving police misconduct or indifference in how they treat medical marijuana patients are more the norm than the exception. The policy of the Hawaii county police department allows patients to be targeted for robbery, and has resulted in at least one death already: the burglar in the Metcalf case.

In Brad Snow’s case there can be no argument that the police response was completely inappropriate. As if taking 1 1/2 hours to respond was not bad enough, they blamed the victim, saying it was his own fault because he must have done something to cause the robbery.  Brad felt like the police where looking for a reason to find him in violation of the marijuana laws so they could arrest him. One officer separated Brad while the others kept looking around his property even though he told them the robber had walked down the driveway and left in a car driven by an awaiting accomplice.

In Hawaii county patients are targeted for arrest and the state has refused to help. The recently promoted department of Public safety chief Keith Kamita who oversaw the medical marijuana program for many years repeated the claim that doctors are recommending medical marijuana so people can get high, not for real medical reasons. Kamita’s comments are outrageous and unfounded. There are no criminal charges and no evidence to support these groundless claims. Kamita has overseen the medical marijuana program for the state of Hawaii for the last decade. He has no medical degree. He is a cop — not a doctor — and should never have been in charge of a medical program. Kamita was both incredibly ignorant and blatantly biased against the medicinal aspects of cannabis. He further victimized both patients and doctors, even releasing the confidential patient information including addresses to the press.

In this most recent case Brad Snow caught the thief red handed stealing the legal medical plants. The confrontation quickly turned violent when the robber attacked Brad with a piece of lumber, and when he retreated back into his house the attack continued with the assailant throwing rocks at the house, and then picking up a boulder and smashing the windshield of Brad’s vehicle. Before fleeing the attacker threatened Brad that he was lucky “they didn’t send the other guys”. When Brad reported the damage, the police demanded his safety check and other car papers, apparently searching for a reason to again punish the victim.

In 2002 John and Rhonda Robison, and Kealoha Wells, a cancer patient ,were arrested for growing medical marijuana. They were within the legal limits both for plants and dried marijuana. Although they were not charged police refused to return the medical plants even for the cancer patient. They sued and the county settled the case for $30,000.00. However it was taxpayer money and the police continue to harass medical patients like Jeffery Contella.

In June 2010 a plain clothes police officer  Detective Chad Taniyama stole Jeff’s medical permits and fully budded plants, he had no warrant, no probable cause, and never showed a badge. Detective Taniyama didn’t have a car and didn’t leave a receipt.

Det. Chad Taniyama carefully harvesting the buds

He was a thief that robbed these medical patients, nothing more. After carefully separating and bagging the mature buds, he waited in the drive way for half an hour for a ride from who knows who.  The large bag of buds disappeared and no explanation of what happened to them was ever given.

Does this look like a bust? Where is his badge, gun, or back up? And whatever happened to the marijuana?

In the Metcalf case the police failed to do anything about the previous robberies even though everyone knew who was doing it. When the patient felt threatened at 10:30 PM one night, he shot and killed the intruder. The same guy had been robbing the community for some time and after his death, burglaries and thefts dropped dramatically. If the police would have protected Mr. Metcalf or put the career criminal in prison this would never have happened. Instead a medical patient with no criminal history went to prison for what many see as self defense.

Tom Martin, a friend of Kevin Metcalf ,was quoted in the local press as saying, “We get home invasion on a weekly basis; we get burglaries day-by-day,” he said. “What should we do? Just lay here out on the road with our throats up so they can just cut ’em? …  His wife, Denise, echoed those sentiments.

How many more people have to die or be victimized, until the police will do the job we pay them for? Police do not get to choose to enforce the laws based on arbitrary department policy. Until some of these officers are disciplined and fired the outrages will continue. These crimes are ultimately the fault of the officers’ bosses, our representatives, and the corrupt justice system.

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  • Thomas

    Let us have our medicine.

    Must see video

    Cannabis Can Cure Certain Forms of Cancer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxObpkkX8fE&feature=player_embedded#at=138

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  • Pingback: Hawaii Growers()

  • Mackenzie

    love that last morsel about ‘vows of fidelity’
    wasting space.

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  • DamianN

    Any idea if citizens can record (in public, no expectation of privacy) conversations with law enforcement? It’s becomming increasing clear to me that we are the sheep and they the wolves. As far as my research has indicated, Hawaii is a “1 Party Consent” state. Meaning, as long as the conversation is open in public and could be overheard by passers by, then we are free to record exchanges between ourselves and another individual. Without letting them know. Though some states have an exception for LEOs(cops). Dunno if HI is one of those.
    Im thinking of putting a sticker below my drivers’ window: “This Conversation is Being Recorded for Your Safety and Mine” with a smiley face on it!

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    • Thomas

      Not sure…….I know they have told us we can not take their pictures even in public. Not sure if that is true. We always try to get pictures and video.

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      • DamianN

        Photographing in public and video are permitted as long as it is not interfering in the execution of “duties” of the officer. I think it would be a great benefit if we as citizens of the State of Hawaii could openly put into practice documentation of interaction with law enforcement. Unfortunately it is hard to find whether or not you can audio record during a “pull over” or street stop. These exchanges are historically open to intimidation, fabrication and unlawful search and seizure. “You’re license plate light is out” ummm….no its not officer. When it’s their word against yours, the light WAS out.

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  • malcolm kyle

    Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 – Now google ‘The Great Wall Street Crash’ and see when that happened!

    During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

    http://1929crash.com/

    China has recently been in negotiation with a number of countries, asking them to replace the Dollar with the Chinese Yuan as their reserve currency. This, when it happens, will remove the Federal Government’s ability to keep printing cash to cover the trillions it costs to fund prohibition. It’ll mean true freedom but the transition period may well bring consequences that are far more horrific than a slasher movie.

    We all have our victories and defeats as regards fear, but most of us strive not to let fear rule our hearts or our minds. Being free means being free to live and love as if death and fear had no power over us. Freedom also means that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to expose blind hate, lies and ignorance by shining eternal light, truth and love, sending such dark forces fleeing to the shadows from whence they came.

    We explore outer space with various forms of space craft, but many choose to explore inner space via nature’s abundant chemistry – an infinite journey into the heart of God. Whatever, we are here to explore this glorious universe. The Prohibitionist’s brand of hateful, choking pseudo-Conservatism is the antithesis of all that. Like a lion who cannot grasp that he can do more than walk in a circle the size of the cage he’s recently been freed from, the prohibitionist is incapable of exploration beyond the boundaries of his own fear, prejudice and loathing. We are all free to choose how we walk our own path, but when we choose to go beyond this by supporting drug-war demagoguery, to the point of even threatening others with imprisonment and physical violence, we loose the right to expect any form of respect from the once free and prosperous society that we are helping to totally destroy.

    Thanks to prohibition we’re about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we’ve always provided facts and statistics – they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

    Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

    Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to “protect us from ourselves”.

    When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this moronothon behind us, we’ll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being “free and fair” has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We’ll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

    Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­’s inquisition­, it’s supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you’re aware of but not enraged by it’s shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

    Prohibition engendered black market profits are obscenely huge. Remove this and you remove the ability to bribe or threaten any government official or even whole governments. The argument that legalized regulation won’t severely cripple organized crime is truly bizarre. Of course, the bad guys won’t just disappear, but if you severely diminish their income, you also severely diminish their power. The proceeds from theft, extortion, pirated goods etc. are a drop in the ocean compared to what can be earned by selling prohibited/unregulated drugs in a black market estimated to be worth 400,000 million dollars. Without the lure and power of so much easy capital, it’s also very unlikely that new criminal enterprises will fill the void left by those you disrupt or entirely eradicate.

    Millions of fearless North Africans have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression.

    The drug czar’s office is not only unnecessary but also the greatest waste of space since vows of fidelity were included in the christian marriage service.

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    • Thomas

      @ malcolm kyle

      Well written…..You should seriously consider contacting the editor of Hawaii News Daily about publishing your own articles. They are looking for contributing authors and you make some very good points. I hope you will submit your post above as an article. At any rate thanks for the information.

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  • The rebel in me agrees with the first post…if the cops are corrupt, don’t call them. Deal with the thieving bastards in a way they will understand.If a guy gets the shit beat out of him and knows that there will be more to come, perhaps he will go grow his own.I waited in my garden for a week trying to catch some bastard, and my intent was to punish them.Of course the probblem starts when you have to use deadly force, and then , well you know where that leads. But the common sense in me, knows what really needs to be done. The people, ALL five thousand of them, MUST make the change. You need to demand change. We see this shit here on the mainland all the time as well.when we do, law suits are filed, charges pressed, civil claims made, and the council chambers should always be standing room only.We are the only answer to government miss-conduct.Find a champion, vote that person into `power’, and get them crooks out. Stratagize in advance.know what you want and who you want it from. The governors, office should have the damn phone ringing off the damn hook. If the people start to protest in a loud and clear voice, change will happen..BUT the people have to all be on board. In my humble opinion.
    Dave Bishop
    american alliance for medical cannabis

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  • pakalolopete

    someone tries to rob you, don’t just shoot en, chop em up and fee em to the dogs. No body no trace, no case

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    • DamianN

      Pigs are better…

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  • DamianN

    Is Chief of Police an elected position on Big Island?
    County Procecutor?
    Certainly, Mayor is…

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    • Thomas

      The police chief is not elected the prosecutor is, but nobody ran against Jay Kimura who has been the prosecutor for many years. However he just resigned effective march 1rst after his brother Loyd was convicted of stealing 23 million dollars on Maui the guy is corrupt, apparently it runs in the family.
      The mayor is corrupt also he knows what is going on. He will probably lose the next election he is all show and no go.

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  • ray_christl_thc_ministry_asia

    The Mafia corruption with cannabis is why the POLICE in uniform preach rubbish. Even they know the LIES….Money (filthy lucre) is the GOD of this evil world.

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  • buddah belly

    It would be nice if there was some oversight of the law enforcement and judicial system’s handling of medical marijuana patients complaints. Instead of protect and serve and a fair trial, we get ripped off, arrested, prosecuted, slandered and basically treated like common criminals…

    The reputation of the police and justice system here on the Big Island is in the toilet. Let’s flush that away now!

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