Got back from a fun and informative day in Kona. The Sheraton Keauhou graciously hosted a seminar by the famous grow-guru Ed Rosenthal. Several Friends for Justice, Peaceful Sky Alliance and Americans for Safe Access were comped tickets, thanks to Mark from Cloud Nine Emporium over there in Kona. The attendance was great, looked like most seats were taken. The Island coffee was flowing, and a good time was had by all.
Dr. Charles Webb gave an informative speech about the benefits of cannabis, cannabis receptors, and his work coming up in November with the American Medical Association, who will be changing their stance on cannabis as medicine at that time (we cross our fingers). Dr. Webb was instrumental in getting the Hawaii Medical Association to endorse medical marijuana earlier this year, and we thank him profusely.
Matt Rifkin, a member of Americans for Safe Access, Peaceful Sky Alliance and Friends for Justice (busy guy!) gave us an update on the Transporting of Medical Marijuana, such as it is, currently in the State of Hawaii. While anyone traveling through the state or interisland is allowed to bring their prescription (diabetes, pain, heart) medications with them, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) seems to have a problem with medical marijuana.
This has been going on since the year 2000 when Hawaii adopted itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Å“compassionate medical marijuana law. And it is often a Ã¢â‚¬Å“selective process. One of our Friends for Justice members has traveled for years with her medicine (and paperwork), but it seems to be random acts of meanness which provoke the TSA to call the police and report an older lady in a wheelchair who bring her medicine with her when she goes to doctor visits in Oahu.
Matt advised all patients driving with their medicine to keep it in the trunk of the car (out of sight Ã¢â‚¬â€œ out of mind). He will be working diligently to fix these problems during the next round of legislation.
It will help if we all call our state house and senate representatives and urge them to adopt rational compassionate and comprehensive laws regarding medical marijuana. With around 8,000 medical patients in the State of Hawaii, that could be a lot of influence on lawmakers, if they get the calls.
Ed RosenthalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s presentation was accompanied by a slide show and plenty of happy jokes. It was very informative, he also had his latest book for sale, and plenty of goodies to help with different aspects of the challenges faced when growing your own. I will refrain from any details, since that is not the focus of Friends for Justice, but I saw many types there who no doubt learned a lot of great tips and techniques. And it was not just a bunch of hippies, like some would expect or project!
The end of the seminar was a speech by Maui resident and cannabis caregiver Brian Murphy from Patients without Time. He currently has a case against him in Federal court, and we wish him the best of luck with that. He was very upbeat and excited about the possibilities open to Hawaii with the coming years of formulating our legalized use of cannabis laws. I need to really research his proposals before arguing for or against them, but I have to say that from what I heard there is not going to be any Ã¢â‚¬Å“small time family farms. It seems like he thinks the State should recommend how and what and when people shall be able to grow their herb (1500 lbs. max seems large time to me), and somehow we are supposed to time our crops to only be mature between July and August each year, because otherwise the Industrial Hemp being grown in Hamakua will ruin anything flowering at other times of year. Also he thinks that we all should Ã¢â‚¬Å“have to grow other commercial food crops during the year to be eligible to grow that cannabis. Also that the U of H should be in charge of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“clone bank of genetics, so everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crop is standardized. He had other ideas about developing Ã¢â‚¬Å“value added products which were good, and I like that way of thinking. But when he said Ã¢â‚¬Å“you only manufacture (grow) the cannabis, the state takes over from there, it turned me off.
These islands are hurting, the small mom and popÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s who want to grow their own developed strains, and sell them in a neighborhood dispensary owned by another one of their friends, is how it should be. Tourists from all over the world are waiting to come on cannabis tours of the Islands. We think quality over quantity any day. Most people I know just want to make a living, not a killing, at the expense of their neighbors rights. If you have a great product you will do well, if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t you will work to get it right, or you will be out of work, just the same as any business operating here. I, for one, do not want the State involved in any aspect of cannabis growing or selling. They couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do a good job with their medical marijuana laws, have been torturing and terrorizing patients for 10 years, so I have absolutely no faith in them. They just need to sit back and let the people do the work for once, and they will no doubt reap the tax benefits, without ruining the products.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all for now, nice meeting everyone this weekend. Now, back to work!
– Sara Steiner, Friends For Justice
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