Category Archives: prison reform

Who supports legalization? How many in Hawai’i?



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.

Phone Red

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.


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:

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 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.


Field Organizer sought for local drug policy reform NPO


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

Fresh Approach Hawaii founder The Drug Policy Action Group ( 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 ( and Fresh Approach Hawaii ( 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 by September 20, 2013.

DPAG is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.


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.”


U.S. House Members File Bipartisan “Respect States’ Marijuana Laws Act”

“This bill is a win for federalism and a win for public safety,” said Neill Franklin, a former Maryland narcotics detective and now executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “In a time of bitter partisanship, it is quite telling that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for respect for the reform of marijuana laws. Polls show this is a winning issue for politicians, and change is inevitable. We applaud those legislators who, rather than trying to impede this progress, stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe these laws should be respected.”


New report documents nationwide racial, economic disparities in incarceration

“The reasoning is clear: the combination of excessive incarceration and harsh punishment is a blunt instrument for social control that perpetuates the country’s painful, historical legacy of injustice and inequality, and deprives masses of black and brown
people unfairly of freedom and opportunity. It is the site of today’s civil rights struggle.”


“The House I Live In” premieres on PBS

Monday, April 8, 10:00 p.m. HST on PBS Hawaii, Independent Lens:

“The House I Live In”

The war on drugs is the longest conflict in U.S. history — and the least winnable. It has had a particularly destructive, devastating impact on black America. And still, drugs are cheaper, stronger, and more plentiful than ever. This Oscar-nominated documentary takes a penetrating look at the profound human rights implications of America’s longest war: the War on Drugs.

See an interview with filmmaker Eugene Jarecki:


Decriminalization off the table for 2013

Breaking: S.B. 472 (decriminalization bill) is reported to have been “recommitted” by the House of Reps to the House Judiciary Committee, effectively shelving it for 2013. S.B. 472 and H.B. 699 (to legalize marijuana for adult use in Hawaii) are both still alive for 2014. More to follow!

A big mahalo to all who took the time to contact their Representatives about this bill!


Aloha State poised for meaningful marijuana law reform in 2013 legislature

Bills give lawmakers new opportunity to take modest, sensible steps while addressing urgent issues of government fairness & efficiency

Honolulu, Hawaii –  The marijuana law reform movement is about fair, effective use of government power and taxpayer money, and it’s based on two over-arching principles:

  1. There is no federal law preventing any state from legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. Every state has a right to determine how best to invest law enforcement resources.
  2. When laws outlive their usefulness or even do more harm than good, it’s only sensible to change them.

Around the nation, state after state is considering sensible reforms to marijuana policies, including here at home: Hawaii’s legislature saw 24 bills introduced at the start of the 2013 session relating to marijuana law reform – as far as we know that’s a new record – including several bills to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, similar to reforms passed in 2012 by voters in Washington and Colorado.

At this writing, supporters of reform are urged to ASAP contact their legislators about:

S.B. 472 – to decriminalize (with proper checks and balances) small amounts of marijuana for adult possession. There are also bills moving to improve Hawaii’s medical marijuana program, look for an update on these in the next few days.

Make a Difference Now. The current system is broken. By decriminalizing, or removing criminal penalties, of small amounts of marijuana for adult use — we can begin to reduce the harm on individual lives and make better use of the criminal justice system for more serious crimes.

In Hawaii as in the nation, our marijuana laws persistently and disproportionally affect communities of color, despite similar usage rates for marijuana across all ethnic groups. In addition to the potential life-long stigma of a criminal arrest for a small amount of marijuana, taxpayers are getting hit by a daily $24,000 price tag.  Every year that goes by, over 1400 people are arrested for possession of a small amount of marijuana and $9M is spent in enforcement – an investment the majority of Hawaii’s voters do not think is wise. 69% of Hawaii’s people think the possibility of jail time for marijuana is not appropriate, and 76% of voters think that we should focus enforcement on hard drugs and violent crime – not marijuana.  We simply cannot let this go on. 

Hawaii Voters Want Change Now: Buoyed by positive polling, common sense and the national trend away from marijuana prohibition, Hawaii’s marijuana law reform bills are moving carefully through the 2013 legislature. That’s attracting attention from the opposition, including mainland lobbyists who oppose local efforts seeking modest and data-backed reforms that protect youth and free up resources for more serious crimes. Fresh Approach Hawaii is a reflection of the new direction that Hawaii wants. District by district, on every island, 75% of the registered voters said if their state legislator voted to decriminalize marijuana, it would either have no impact (42%) or it would actually make them more likely to vote for their legislator (33%).

Hawaii voters are ready for a fresh approach.

Join the fight! Information, action alerts, and more:

A coalition to reform Hawaii’s marijuana laws: <
Facebook: freshapproachhawaii  
Twitter: freshapproachhi
A confidential support group for medical marijuana patients, doctors and caregivers: <
Facebook: mccoalitionhawaii
Twitter: mccoalitionhi