Hawaii Senator Would Ban Most Medical Marijuana Patients

Today I attended the latest conference committee meeting between the House and Senate to discuss SB 1458, SD2, HD3, which aims to establish a medical marijuana dispensary pilot program in the state of Hawai`i.

I have looked over the proposed bill, and IMHO it’s getting worse and worse. As at the meeting last week, Senator Green presented the Senate draft. He did not have copies for the other conferees so they didn’t have much info to go on.

Here’s what he said:

He is concerned about abuse of the program as demonstrated by all the young people who have registered, He said that 50% of those on the Big Island are under age 30 and 500 people on the Big Island are under 21. Said he intends to “clean up the law.”

He wants the Department of Health to create a single dispensary based on where their analysis shows the medical need is highest. He says it should focus on those with cancer, m.s., and other neuromuscular disorders. The bill would therefore amend the list of qualifying conditions by deleting severe pain, severe nausea. and Crohn’s disease. There is a  60 day grace period so that those with a current card whose condition is no longer eligible have 2 months before they have to turn in their card since they no longer qualify.

He said there will be a significant licensing fee of about $30K, an out of state rate of $100, and it will not address the transportation issue. He said Public Safety and the Department of Health would have to “collaborate”. Under his bill, DOH licenses the single pilot program dispensary and PSD retains the patient registry.

Rep. Yamane, speaking for the House, said he wants to “continue the discussion” since it’s gotten this far. If the 2 year pilot goes well, he would look at data and then proceed from there. He said some areas would be problematic for a dispensary site and suggested the establishment of  “Weed and Seed” zones.

The draft bill itself says that the pilot program shall be established “no later than Aug. 7, 2012.” The specific site for the pilot will be “designated by the Governor.”

It still prohibits medical marijuana from being transported out of the island where the “compassion center” is located. In addition to the initial licensing fee of $30,000, there shall be an annual fee of $25,000 and an annual renewal fee in the same amount.

  • licensees must be a non-profit entity
  • edibles etc shall be regulated by DOH & the federal Food and Drug Administration. Sen. Green said last week that the FDA reference is coming out. [They would be unable to take part due to the federal scheduling of cannabis.]
  • in addition to regular sales tax, an additional 15% tax shall be assessed on “gross proceeds of sales.”
  • the facility shall be no closer than 600 yards from schools.
  • “The pilot project shall cease to exist no later than 2 years after date of implementation, unless the legislature authorizes its continuation or expansion prior to the expiration of the pilot program.”

So there, you have it folks. Is this better than nothing? Not in my opinion. I think the Senate has bend over backwards to appease the voiced concerns of law enforcement and the House.

The next meeting of the conference committee is Thursday, April 28 at 1:30pm. I suggest that interested parties should contact Senator Green’s office and let him know your thoughts.

There are ways in which this bill would be worse than the current situation since only patients on one island would have access AND the types of eligible conditions would be severely curtailed.
See: http://www.kitv.com/news/27682393/detail.html

Sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov
ph; 586-9385
fax 586-9391

Pamela G. Lichty, MPH, is the President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai'i

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  • Fairuse

    The agegroup most likely to suffer from chronic and debilitating back pain are individuals between the ages of 19 and 40. I fall into this catagory. I suffered my injury when I was 20 while doing warehouse labor. I’m now 38 and in real pain every night after work. We have a lot of broken young people out there and I’d prefer them to not be opiate dependent.

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  • Amber Suka

    I suffer from Hep C/Cirrosis. I’ve been infected since 1981 through a blood transfusion. In 2002, my Doctors put me on PEG-Intron/Ribavirin Combo therapy which almost killed me. I’m having to go back on treatment and will be taking the same medicine with the addition of a new drug that holds a lot of promise but the exact same hell. There’s no escaping the nightmare for me. I truly believe in my heart that Cannabis will help me get through treatment. It will allow my body to relax so that I CAN take my medicines and so I can swallow spit without dry-heaving. So I can eat and get the nutrients my body needs to help the toxic medicines combat the disease.
    Ever experience rigors and constant fevers, personally? IT SUCKS!!! The worst experience I have ever had to go through!! THE WORST!!!

    I am NOT a pot head. I’m a patient! I find it outrageous that someone would think that controlling the age limit to this is a good idea. SINCE WHEN DO DISEASES SELECT PATIENTS BASED ON AGE?

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  • Dwight Kondo

    Doctor Green are you familiar with any of these cases of Hawaii Medical Marijuana patients under the age of 21? Are you familiar with any corresponding
    criminal arrests by these young patients indicating criminal activity associated with their usage?

    Do you think denying Medical Marijuana to older Patients is fair because you imagine some problem or abuse with Patients under 21?

    In 2009 we can estimate roughly in Hawaii 120,000 people between the ages of 15 to 21. If the 500 young Patients you describe is part of this overall age group,they would amount to 0.416 of that population. In your estimation, what percentage of the 120,000 young people, the vast majority your high school students, are currently smoking pot illegally?

    A recent KGMB news report states that 21.4 % of Hawaii high school seniors admit to having smoking Cannabis in the last 30 days. That would amount to an estimated 30,000 high school students
    that admit to smoking pot.

    The 500 Medical Marijuana Patients that are sick and brave enough to come forward and register with this state program amount to less 0.416 % of all the
    young people estimated to be smoking pot now. How does your intention of punishing or driving underground the current 500 young people, improve the illegal numbers?

    http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/13671796/marijuana-use-up-among-eighth-graders

    http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=n&_lang=en&qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_DP1&ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&geo_id=04000US15

    http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/15000.html

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  • Blake Watson

    So we all thought Josh Green was an advocate for the medical cannabis patient. At least, I did. That’s why to me this is so surprising. But then I got thinking about the doctor who under federal indictment right now in another state- Montana, I believe, for helping people break federal law..in basic terms. so now I think he is scared and a lot of other doctors might be scared of the feds as well. What Hawaii’s congress is supposed to be doing is asserting our state’s rights to control our own medicine- and kick the Feds out of our own State’s business, whether in court or by state law.

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  • Buddah Belly

    Aloha LF,

    If you could please write this as an email letter to Senator Green at: Sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov – It would be greatly appreciated! As he is a medical doctor, he has taken a hippocratic oath to do no harm, which is exactly what his restrictive policy is doing.

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  • Dear Senator Green,
    I am the father of an 18 year old ädult child”, who suffered a shattered spine two years ago. She fell off a 40’cliff and was not found until the next day. She was using a large amount of pain killers, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Norco, and others. The effect these pills had on her personality was staggering. Her ability to function as a student and in social settings diminished greatly. After doing her own research, she decided to approachg us about medical marijuana. My wife and I are both in our 50’s. Neither of us use marijuana. We were uncomfortable about it. We started with our family Dr. He was in favor of it. We then spoke to her surgeon from Oahu. He was OK with it. We then found a Dr. who took her interview, and evaluated her as a candidate. She was approved. In two weeks… two weeks she was able to completely get of ALL the pills. Her pain was manageable and her attitude began to take a turn for the better. She had a second major operation this summer. Her ability to use medical marijuana has been the most positive thing in her rehabilitation. I am a talk show host at KKCR and have been for 15 years. I was angry when I first read your proposal. It seemed short sighted. Then I realizied, we can only base our decisions in life on our own experiences. If your experience has been that this is being abused, then I could understand where you are coming from. I would love to have you on my show. I have hosted it for 15 years. I have had former Governors on, State Senators, all manor of local country officials. I am a very “honest host and do not try and “trap”guests or bully them. I have a very active listenership. I would be honored to have you on the air to discuss this. I will fight very strongly to make sure this does not happen off the air. On the air, I will work very hard to make sure that ALL sides of the issue are brought out. I have a great track record for being unbiased and respectful. Please consider coming on my show to discuss this. Again, if you attempt to make this drug unavailable for chronic pain, “verified” chronic pain, I think you are going to wake a dragon. Are your beliefs strong enough to open them up to a public forum? Thank you for considering a respectful but neccesary dialogue on this very important matter. I am willing to share medical and pshycological records for your own consideration.
    Karlos deTreaux
    Host: Kauai Soapbox (streaming statewide)
    terrestrial at 90.9, 91.9, 92.5 and 95.1 on cable
    http://www.kkcr.org

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  • Pingback: Has the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill Been Hijacked? « The Last Marijuana Trial()

  • Sam Sharp

    All that this bill does is prove that Senator Green is an asshole and that the black market looks great compared to this piece of crap.

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  • Liser Fewell

    Rather than further limit the conditions, it should be expanded. I’m 56 years old, and finally tried pot. I was able to get off medicine for RLS, and depression, by taking one puff every night right before going to sleep. If I don’t do it, there is no sleep, as my legs just twitch like crazy every few seconds. This has saved me lots of money in prescriptions, and I no longer worry that the drug companies will find that the drugs I was prescribed actually cause heart failure, cancer, suicide, gas, etc. after years of use. Of course, I live in fear of being a headline….granny convicted of transporting 1/8 oz over state lines…and loosing everything I have worked for my entire life.

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