FORMER REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR BACKS HIGA
During my tenure in the state Legislature, I always trusted the information in state auditor Marion Higa's audits of various state departments. The fact that I was a Republican in a solidly Democratic Legislature, with Democratic state administrations, did not in the slightest fashion diminish my faith in Higa or her work. If I were in the Legislature today, my confidence in Higa would remain.
It's odd that the current administration highly touted Higa's abilities prior to taking office in 2003, only to drastically change course by recently criticizing the objectivity of her audits. Regardless of the Democratic majority control of the Legislature and of Washington Place during my time in office, the auditor consistently offered fair and impartial audits based on findings of fact, which I strongly believe her office continues to do today.
In addition to supporting the auditor, I consistently advocated for funding the office of the legislative analyst to aid in the analyses of state departmental budgets. This position has been on the books for years but has never been funded. A legislative analyst would serve to further scrutinize government spending while improving public trust, which is precisely what Marion Higa has done so well during her tenure as our state auditor.
whitney anderson | Waimänalo
ARGUMENT AGAINST SHOPS WAS BIASED
The editorial "Marijuana shops? Wowie, what a bad idea" was just plain biased and thinly argued.
Sure, SB 2213 could be better, but it does provide for regulating who can be employed in a compassion center, how they obtain their product, conditions for security of grown product and conditions on who may purchase the cannabis.
This biggest drawback to the law is that it waits until 2012 to go into effect. That is a mistake, because people will say the activity is legal the day the law passes and will start setting up shop right away.
The police might exploit the situation by saying they're confused about what to do and hope the situation makes the citizens and Legislature angry.
What the Legislature ought to do is make regulated cannabis legal for all adults right away, period. By requiring background checks, licensing, business licenses and taxation, there will be more than enough safeguards to control any wayward operators.
Police don't want this, because they fear having to focus on violent crime and property crime as their first priority. That is, to do real police work.
Keith Brilhart | Honolulu
PROPOSAL OPPOSITION APPEARS MISGUIDED
Your opposition regarding the proposed establishment of county-licensed medical marijuana "compassion centers" appears to be misguided.
Under present law, qualified patients have the legal option to use marijuana therapeutically under their doctor's supervision. Yet the law fails to provide these patients with safe, legal, consistent above-ground access to their medicine.
Senate Bill 2213 seeks to rectify this situation by providing patients with access to medical marijuana in a strictly controlled, state-regulated manner. Similarly regulated facilities are operating in New Mexico, and soon will be implemented in New Jersey, Maine and Rhode Island.
Opponents of this proposal invariably point fingers at California, where the adoption of unregulated dispensaries has flourished in a handful of counties, most notably Los Angeles. Yet this proliferation only exists in regions of the state that have failed to control dispensaries in the manner proposed by SB 2213.
Further, even in counties like Los Angeles, police records indicate that these facilities are not magnets for crime.
The goal of SB 2213 is not to encourage the broader use or availability of marijuana but rather to provide seriously ill patients with an alternative to the criminal black market.
Paul Armentano | Deputy director, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Vallejo, Calif.
EDITORIAL ONE-SIDED, COMPLETELY NEGATIVE
As a medical marijuana patient I am utterly disappointed in your editorial in opposition to SB 2213. What a one-sided, negative look at an important issue to many people, whose pain and suffering is eased by medical marijuana.
Why not look at Oakland and Berkeley, Calif., where the local government and dispensaries worked in cooperation to craft laws that are effective, and where a limited number of licensed dispensaries operate. Neither city has the problems associated with Los Angeles, because things are tightly regulated.
"Police hate this measure" — well, not all cops. Look at the testimony submitted for SB 2450, which would decriminalize one ounce of marijuana. Jack Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, argues in favor of regulation of all drugs, instead of prohibition which has been a total failure.
Other states, such as Rhode Island, have recently approved licensed dispensaries. It is important for patients to have safe access to medicine. Why do the police (and your editors) have to be completely opposed to this? Why not try to find workable solutions, instead of throwing obstacles in the way of progress?
Matthew rifkin | Hilo[0x0b]
POT DISPENSARIES A HORRENDOUS IDEA
I agree with the editorial, "Marijuana shops? Wowie, what a bad idea," that it's a horrendous idea to expand marijuana dispensaries throughout the Islands.
It's wrong — plain and simple. The increased availability of dope sends a severe message to our keiki. When people get "high," they behave abnormally.
For example, the increase of "potheads" driving will make the roads extremely dangerous for sober drivers and pedestrians alike.
I recommend that the people of Hawai'i contact their legislators to vote against Senate Bill 2213.
zackary ventura | 'Aiea
DRUG LAWS SHOULDN'T TAKE US BACK IN TIME
Wow! After years of lies about marijuana from people like the drug czar, I thought we were making progress in reforming our marijuana laws. Now the editorial staff wants to go back in time.
What's next? Shall we put people in prison for 30 years, like the state of Texas tried to do to Timothy Leary in the 1960s, for possessing one joint of marijuana?
phil robertson | Kailua