Palms and Sky

Perspectives on Maui issues
  



Maui Police strongly oppose Medical Marijuana Legislation.

Maui Vortex, by Mary Whispering Wind, Feb.17, 2013

The Maui Police Department, continuing their history of opposition to medical marijuana legislation in Hawaii, strongly opposed the passage of H.B. No. 667, and H.B. 668, in testimony submitted to the Hawaii Legislature, on Feb. 7, 2013.

Maui Police Chief Gary Yabuta testified that the bill left many questions unanswered regarding regulation authority, burden of proof issues, amounts of marijuana that may be possessed and transported, and enforcement procedures.

The questions and concerns voiced by Chief Yabuta, in his written testimony, echoed the concerns of many medical marijuana patients, who have been asking how they may legally acquire their medical marijuana in Hawaii, since it was legalized in June, 2000.

Over a decade after medical marijuana use was authorized in Hawaii, there is still no procedure in place for medical marijuana patients to acquire medical marijuana, ... and there does not even seem to be anyone to ask.

On Nov. 16, 2003, Keith Kamita, the State of Hawaii, Department of Public Safety's narcotics enforcement division chief stated, "the law is silent" regarding how Hawaii's registered medical marijuana patients are allowed to obtain their medicine.

The Maui Police department's opposition to medical marijuana legislation raised controversy regarding their lobbying efforts when the Maui Police officers distributed anti-medical marijuana political pamphlets asking citizens to submit testimony to oppose pending medical marijuana legislation, S.B 58, S.B. 1458 and S.B 175, at Wal-Mart in Kahului, during several days in February, 2011.

Former Maui Police Chief Thomas Phillips opposed medical marijuana legislation, on January 31, 2008. Chief Phillips stated "the Maui Police Department is the only Police Department on the island, and we would not wish to partake in nor support an operation that is not in compliance with federal law."



The medical marijuana laws of Hawaii are clearly not in compliance with federal law, therefore Chief Phillips' comments caused Hawaii's registered medical marijuana patients confusion and concern about their rights and requirements.



See below: Maui Police Department testimony, submitted 2/07/2013, opposing medical marijuana bills.


Police Department

County of Maui 

55 MAHALANI STREET

WAILUKU, HAWAII96793

(808) 244-6400

FAX (808) 244-6411

 

February 07,2013

 

The Honorable Henry  J. C. Aquino, Chair

And Members of the Committee  on Public  Safety

House of  Representatives

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

 

The Honorable Della Au Belatti, Chair

And Members of the Committee on Health
House of  Representatives

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

 

RE:  House Bill No. 667, RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Dear Chairs Aquino  and Au Belatti,  and Members of the Committees:

 

The Maui Police Department OPPOSES the passage of H.B. No.  667.

 

The passage of this bill amends aspects of the Medical Use of Marijuana regime, to include: defining adequate supply, confidentiality of growing sites, certifying physician requirements, confidentiality of patient's condition, caregiver to patient ratio, transportation of medical marijuana, qualifying visitors, and registration requirements, effective July 1, 2013.

 

The Maui Police Department strongly opposes this bill because it opens the floodgates to abuses in the current medical marijuana laws. This bill has many unanswered questions that would be a result of it passing. The following are a few questions and concerns that we would like to pose for the committees to consider.

 

In the proposed bill for SECTION 2  (Proposed addition of "Transfers"):

1) Checking for a valid medical marijuana permit alone is difficult to expedite. Is a transfer of medical marijuana from one patient to be regulated (by NED)? Or is it going to be on an "honor” system?

2) What is the burden of proof that the caregiver determined that the recipient had a valid medical marijuana permit?

3) This clause does not specify the amount of medical marijuana a caregiver can possess, only that the recipient can receive an "adequate supply".  Does that mean the caregiver or patient can legally possess more than the legal limit as long as they are holding it to "transfer" to a recipient?

4) The fact of the matter is that marijuana, legal or not, is a controlled substance. You are NOT allowed to transfer your prescription pills to someone else with the same illness/conditions. They would need a prescription from their doctor. Why should this be any different?

 

In the proposed bill in SECTION 2  (Proposed addition of "Transportation"):

1) This proposed addition cannot be allowed. This will allow any medical marijuana patient to leave their marijuana in a vehicle and simply cite this section of law when pulled over. If allowed, there should be some provision that would dictate the amount of marijuana allowed at any time in the vehicle

In the proposed bill in SECTION 2  (Proposed addition of "Authorized conduct by a visiting qualifying patient"):

1) From state to state there are varying degrees of difficulty when obtaining a medical marijuana permit. In some states, simple back pain can get you a medical marijuana permit. In Hawaii, we are making it more restrictive  (one must have a debilitating illness/injury). In addition, are we to allow/verify a medical marijuana permit from another state? There is no on-line database. An out of state permit can only be checked during normal business hours which limits the time(s) a law enforcement official can verify the permit.

 

The Maui Police Department again asks that you OPPOSE the passage of H.B. No.  667.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Sincerely,

 

GARY A. YABUTA

Chief of Police


Police Department

County of Maui 

55 MAHALANI STREET

WAILUKU, HAWAII96793

(808) 244-6400

FAX (808) 244-6411

 

February 07,2013

 

The Honorable Henry  J. C. Aquino, Chair

And Members of the Committee  on Public  Safety

House of  Representatives

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

 

The Honorable Della Au Belatti, Chair

And Members of the Committee on Health
House of  Representatives

State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaii  96813

 

RE:  House Bill No. 668, RELATING TO HEALTH

Dear Chair Aquino  and Au Belatti,  and Members of the Committees:

The Maui Police Department OPPOSES the passage of H.B. No.  668.

 

The passage of this bill transfers departmental jurisdiction of the medical marijuana laws

from the Department of Public  Safety (DPS) to the Department of Health (DOH)  and requires

 DPS to  assist with the transfer, effective July 1, 2013.

 

The Maui Police Department strongly opposes this bill because it opens the floodgates to abuses in the current medical marijuana laws. This bill has many unanswered questions that would be a result of it passing. These are a few questions and concerns that we would like to poses for the committees to consider:

Why would we allow a patient to be certified by any physician other than their primary physician? This will allow doctor shopping.  The potential for multiple prescription abuse could be a result.

Why have the patient register with the Department of Health? The Department of Health is not a law enforcement entity and are not in the position to regulate and enforce medical marijuana violation in conjunction with the issuing of the permit. There is at least a regulating component with Department of Public Safety.

Allowing a caregiver the opportunity to grow marijuana for up to five qualifying patients is an invitation for criminals to rob or steal from the property. It should be only one caregiver to one patient.


The Maui Police Department again asks that you OPPOSE the passage of H.B. No.  668.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to testify.

Sincerely,

 

GARY A. YABUTA

Chief of Police


Reference Links:

Hawaii House Bill No. 667, RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA, Testimony.

Hawaii House Bill No. 668, RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA, Testimony

Police pan pot proposals, NED & Police Pamphlet aims to enlist public in fighting changes in law. 2/15/2011

Maui Police seek public backing on laws relating to Medical Marijuana.
2/14/2011

PHOTO: Maui Police officer lobbying against medical marijuana legislation at Walmart. 2/14/2011, Photo by Amanda Cowan, Maui News.

Police chief (Yabuta) against relaxing marijuana laws, 1/22/2010

Maui County Police Department

Medical marijuana: Breathing uneasy. Despite a Supreme Court ruling, questions remain about the legality of using pot as medicine.