Category Archives: medical marijuana

2014 : A Great Year for Marijuana Policy Changes — We CAN Celebrate in 2015!

2015 is a time to Celebrate some of the Successes from 2014. Across the Nation– 2014 was a great year for positive changes in drug policy reform—primarily for marijuana laws.Leaf gavel

Here are some of the Highlights:

Some of the 23 states which have Medical Marijuana Programs enhanced their programs.

In Hawaii, a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force was formed. hus-conf-4-16-14

After six months of examining laws from other states and hearing testimony (from experts and the public) they produced a list of recommendations which will be used to draft legislation for the 2015 session.

States that had NO program– approved medical marijuana: New York, Minnesota, Maryland.Cannabisoil1

Eleven states will now allow qualified patients to use cannabis products that are high in cannabidiol (CBD). The patients are primarily children with severe, intractable epilepsy. The states are: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah.

For the first time, Congress cut federal funding for the enforcement of laws which would “Interfere” with the implementation of state-sanctioned medical marijuana programs. Taxpayer money will no longer be spent on prosecuting those who possess, distribute or cultivate medical marijuana (in compliance with state laws).

MANY STATES HAVE NOW DECRIMINALIZED OR LEGALIZED MARIJUANA POSSESSION

According to an article in the Huffington Post, many States chose to DECRIMINALIZE possession of small amounts of marijuana. They include: the District of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Maryland and regions of Maine, Michigan, and New Mexico.Jail door opened

Alaska and Oregon voters joined Colorado and Washington state in LEGALIZING marijuana. In Oregon, anti-legalization efforts were squashed when it was discovered that federal funds were being used in the politicking.

California had many HARM REDUCTION policy successes with marijuana, naloxone and decriminalization efforts.

And, the U.S. Justice Department issued a memo which says that it will not interfere with marijuana cultivation or sales if it occurs on tribal lands, in any state.

It seems the tides have been turning in favor of responsible marijuana use. This may be due to a growing awareness of the medical usefulness of marijuana and that millions of patients are using it safely. Maybe this is the result of a growing awareness of the devastating effects of the failure of the war on drugs. warondrugs

Maybe people have seen that many good things have come from the legalization in Colorado and Washington, such as opioid overdose mortality rates drop by 24.8 percent (NORML) and a drop in violent crimes.

Perhaps they saw that their favorite NFL teams –with players who use marijuana—make it to the top four playoff spots. Two of the best players, Seattle’s Marshawn lynch (sitting at #4) and Steelers Le’Veon Bell (at #2 spot) have admitted to using marijuana.

Thanks to the many people, including the Marijuana Mavericks, 2014 was a good year for positive change. Let’s hope this trend continues well into 2015.

 

 

 

 

Who supports legalization? How many in Hawai’i?

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An interesting revelation in a Civil Beat article is that: Not just potheads support the legalization of marijuana. National studies show that 52% of the adults in the U.S. favor legalization, and 35% of those are non-users. The author examined various reasons why someone might favor legalization (or not). He speculated that some people who do not favor legalization may not understand that regulation is a part of legalization. He also made it clear that supporting legalization of marijuana does not necessarily condone using it.

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Compare statistics from Hawai’i – a 2014 Poll!

The RESULTS from a Q-mark telephone survey of 400 people (mostly from Oahu) found even higher numbers than the national studies!

This year, the percentage of people that favor Medical Marijuana went up to 85%! That same number favors establishing a local dispensary system.

Most people (66% of all islands and 75% from neighbor islands) think that legalization, regulation and taxation IS an acceptable alternative to our current system.

77% favor decriminalization for the act of possessing marijuana and thought NO jail time was needed–as long as the person is not a drug dealer.

Similar to the other surveys, most of the people surveyed (66%) had NOT used marijuana (for medical reasons) and didn’t have a close relationship with anyone who did.

The times they are a-changing.

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New resource: Changes and Clarifications to Hawaiiʻs Medical Cannabis Program

Our sister organization, the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii, has just published an FAQ on 2013ʻs legislative modifications to the Hawaii medical marijuana program. The FAQ also includes analysis of the Hawaii Supreme Courtʻs ruling in the “Woodhall” case – involving patient travel with medicinal cannabis within the state of Hawaii.

Read more here: http://mcchi.org/resource-changes-clarifications-to-hawaiis-medical-marijuana-program/ 

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Celebrating 20 years of reason, science and compassion

Congratulations to Fresh Approach Hawaii cofounder, the Drug Policy forum of Hawaii!

“Celebrating 20 Years of Science, Reason and Compassion ”

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i’s 20th Anniversary Event
Friday, November 1, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Ohelo Building ~ Ka`ikena Laua`e Room

HONOLULU – Thursday, October 17, 2013 – In the last twenty years, Hawai`i has enacted drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations with the support of the voters and the legislature. Join us to celebrate the work of those individuals and organizations that have tirelessly worked towards drug policy based on concern for human dignity, effective outcomes, public health considerations, and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Speaking will be Ethan Nadelmann Ph.D., JD., Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance – The Nation’s Premiere Drug Policy Organization . Mr. Nadelmann’s talk will be on “Ending the War on Drugs: Are We Really at the Tipping Point? ”

For more than two decades, Nadelmann helped build a broad-based movement for reform on the strength of a strategic insight that’s both simple and profound: The fight against repressive drug laws isn’t about championing the rights of drug users – even of a substance as popular as marijuana. It’s about fighting against federal overreach and the needless human toll of drug prohibition. Read more about Ethan at:http://dpfhi.org/2013/06/14/the-most-influential-man-in-the-battle-for-legalization-is-a-wonky-intellectual-in-dad-jeans/.

The dinner will also honor Professor of Law Emeritus and former Dean, University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, Richard “Dick” Miller. Miller has never shied away from the new or the controversial. He arrived in Hawai`i to help establish the new law school at UH in 1973 and in 1993, 20 years later, he was one of the first Board members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i. His guidance and sharp legal mind is still a beacon for the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i in the roiling seas known as the war on drugs.

Tickets are $50 at the door and include a full dinner buffet and desserts. Limited seating is still available for the November 1 event. For further information, or to reserve a seat, please RSVP to info@dpfhi.org or call (808) 988-4386 .

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii was founded in 1993 and remains Hawai`i’s voice
for pragmatic drug policies that minimize economic, social, and human costs.
http://www.dpfhi.org

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Field Organizer sought for local drug policy reform NPO

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JOB OPENING: The Drug Policy Action Group is seeking a Field Organizer.

Fresh Approach Hawaii founder The Drug Policy Action Group (www.dpfhi.org) is hiring!

The Field Organizer will work with DPAGʻs Executive Director and/or Board President, and will be responsible for DPAG’s public education campaign for statewide reform of marijuana laws including lobbying, growth and day to day operations of two coalitions formed during the 2013 Legislative Session: The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii (MCCHI.org) and Fresh Approach Hawaii (Freshapproachhawaii.org). For the full job description, see: DPAG_organizer.

Please send a letter of interest, resume, a recent writing sample and three references (all in PDF format) to info@dpfhi.org by September 20, 2013.

DPAG is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta apologizes, reverses opinion on medical marijuana

Screen shot 2013-08-08 at 1.04.56 PM“We have been terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States, and I apologize for my own role in that. I hope this article and upcoming documentary will help set the record straight.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

USCouncilMayors

Hundreds Of U.S. Mayors: Let States Police Pot

We are still trying to obtain a voting list on this…more to follow!

“Hundreds of mayors from around the nation voted Monday to urge the federal government to give states leeway in establishing marijuana policies. The resolution was among dozens of symbolic measures city leaders unanimously passed on the last day of the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors conference in Las Vegas.”

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/us-mayors-want-states-police-pot.php?ref=fpb

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Bills to improve patient privacy and safe access to medical marijuana become law

Advocates call measures a “significant first step” to modernize Hawaii’s thirteen year-old medical marijuana law

(Honolulu, 6/25/2013) Patient advocates celebrated the signing of two bills to improve Hawaii’s 13 year-old medical marijuana program – the first updates to pass the legislature since the program began. Approved today were measures to move program oversight away from the Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division (“NED”) and to the Department of Health (“DOH”), and to adjust the type and amount of medical marijuana a patient can legally possess.

HB 668 CD1 moves oversight of the program to the DOH, a move welcomed by advocates as both symbolic and substantive. HB 668 will go into effect January 1, 2015, giving time for the transition between departments to occur.

SB 642 CD1 increases the amount of medical marijuana a patient or caregiver can grow and possess. Lawmakers also added a provision requiring that only a patient’s primary care physician can certify them for eligibility, but later clarified that people covered in the Federal system (e.g. military dependents at Tripler) and those seeing specialist physicians will still have access to Hawaii’s medical marijuana program. This measure will also take effect in 2015 – one day later than HB 688.

Representative Della Au Belatti, who advocated strongly for the bills, said: “Today’s bills represent a significant step forward in improving Hawaii’s medical marijuana program and aligning it with best practices of medical cannabis programs in other states.  By refocusing the program on medical matters such as the role of the primary physician and the role of the Department of Health in providing regulation and program oversight, the State can better ensure the compassionate treatment of people suffering from debilitating health conditions.”

The policy shift is part of a serious discussion on the future of marijuana law in the Islands, mirroring reforms happening around the country. Bills to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and to remove criminal penalties for adult use garnered unprecedented public support and legislative interest and received hearings, but were ultimately shelved until 2014 with no final votes taken.

Hawaii’s medical marijuana program enjoys very strong public support. Respected local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawaii voters. The poll occurred between November 19 and December 4, 2012. Among its findings:

  • 81% of Hawaii voters support access to medical marijuana by sick and dying people under a doctor’s care.
  • 78% of Hawaii voters support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.

Pam Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Action Group, said: “While Hawaii still has important work ahead in updating our medical marijuana program, these bills are a significant first step. The emergence of legislative champions for medical marijuana like Senators Will Espero and Josh Green and Representative Della Au Belatti shows that lawmakers recognize the broad public support among voters. We look forward to working with the 2014 legislature to establish state-regulated dispensaries, and to make additional patient-centered improvements to the Hawaii program.”

Vanessa Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii, added: “In 2000, Hawaii led the nation as the first state to legislatively establish our medical marijuana program. Now, a total of 18 states plus Washington, D.C. have programs. Finally, 13 years down the road, Hawaii is moving toward patient-focused policies and away from a law enforcement approach. These bills do not address every concern, but are the first real steps toward a more sensible public policy — we are encouraged and will redouble our efforts next legislative session.”

Patients, doctors and caregivers are urged to join the confidential support network “The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii” founded by the Drug Policy Action Group and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and follow the latest news at www.mcchi.org