Democracy In Action and Patients Without Time director Brian Murphy, joined by the organizations' Molokai representative Gloria Molica-Dell, registered over 60 people to vote last Monday. Molica-Dell will be gathering initiative signatures and registering voters at Molokai's Saturday Market the next two weeks.
Public initiative would allow Maui County farmers to grow medical marijuana.
By Brandon Roberts
In 2000, Hawaii state legislature recognized the medicinal benefits of marijuana and enacted SB 862 to approve the use of medical marijuana, though the law lacks the proper language on how to acquire the medicinal herb.
Democracy In Action (DIA), and Patients Without Time (PWT) are two organizations stoking a county initiative to gather 8,000 signatures by April 20. The initiative is called Maui County Family Farmer Regulation and Revenue Ordinance and would help clarify SB 862, as well as establish the supply, delivery, and regulations of medical marijuana in Maui County.
Iggy, a lawfully-registered medicinal marijuana patient, had enforcement helicopters hover over his family home for 45 minutes. Police then confiscated his garden. He was able to provide the legal information to law enforcement, which offered an apology and handed him back his plants. However, the plants were all dead.
“Medical marijuana patients have become targets for law enforcement,” Iggy said. “It doesn’t violate state law. Do they want me to acquire it through the black market?”
“This initiative provides transparency for local law enforcement so patients are not treated like criminals, and it promotes agriculture by tapping into ag. zoned lands to grow this medicine,” Iggy added.
In today’s world there are many health issues and thousands of prescription pharmaceuticals available to help people cope with pain and suffering. The federal government regulates these drugs, whose manufacturers are among the largest lobbyists and campaign donors in the United States.
Since 1998, pharmaceutical companies have spent $758 million on lobbying efforts, more than any other industry, according to the Center for Public Integrity. The pharmaceutical industry in 2003 spent $143 million on lobbying activities. At that time, there were 1,274 registered pharmaceutical lobbyists in Washington, D.C., more than two for every member of Congress, USA Today reports. Of those, 476 were former federal officials, including 40 former members of Congress.
The federal government classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug, having no medical value. Marijuana users are filling up private prisons due to ex-President Ronald Reagan’s mandatory minimum sentencing established in 1986.
More than 80 percent of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 is due to low-level drug convictions.
“The only peaceful solution is to vote back America,” said Brian Murphy, director of DIA and PWT, addressing his use of the public initiative process.
DIA/PWT Molokai representative Gloria Molica-Dell believes this initiative could really help family farmers on Molokai. A provision in the initiative would put Hawaiian families with 70 years lineage in Maui County at the top of the growers list.
This initiative would give Maui County residents the ability to vote on this legislation, and allow family farmers within the county to legally grow and supply doctor-authorized patients with medicinal marijuana.
“Compassion should always come first,” said Murphy, who is also a disabled United States Veteran.
DIA/PWT is also registering people to vote with registration available at their booth. Molica-Dell will be gathering signatures, registering voters, and providing information at Molokai’s Saturday market for the next two weeks.
Additional information can be found at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Molica-Dell here on Molokai at 553-4306.