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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, January 7, 2010

Marijuana decriminalization request voted down, 7-2

Advertiser Staff

A Hawai'i County Council committee on Tuesday voted 7-2 against a resolution asking the state Legislature to decriminalize marijuana, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Councilman Kelly Greenwell, the measure's sponsor, and Emily Naeole Beason voted for the resolution.

The Legislature cannot actually decriminalize marijuana, because the drug is regulated by state and federal laws. But Greenwell said he hoped an affirmative vote by the council would put pressure on the Legislature to ease regulation of the drug.

The resolution now moves to the full council with a negative recommendation.

The first 20 people who spoke at a council meeting prior to the vote all opposed the North Kona councilman's resolution, warning that the council would send a terrible message to the youth of the island by approving it.

"Marijuana is illegal, harmful, addictive, damaging, and it is a destructive force in our community," county Prosecutor Jay Kimura said.

He was backed by a group of red-shirted schoolchildren. Testifying from Kona, members of the Youth Crime Watch of Kealakehe urged the lawmakers to set good examples for them.