On The Home Grown Front

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Apr 7, 2001.

  1. Editorial
    Source: Honolulu Weekly

    The U.S. government has spent tens of millions of dollars to eradicate marijuana in Hawai`i, much of it going into the pockets of Hawai`i County police officers. Over 5 million plants were seized in the 1990s alone, most of it on the Big Island. But pot is still plentiful in the Islands; it's just that a sizable chunk now comes from Mexico, California, Columbia and especially British Columbia, where growers have perfected a high-yield, high-potency indoor crop.

    Marijuana also costs three times more -- $600 an ounce -- than it did 25 years ago, when Operation Green Harvest began.
    Neither the U.S. Attorney's Office, the local branch of the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Honolulu Police Department nor the state Department of Public Safety (which oversees Halawa High/Medium Security Facility) could (or would) provide data to Honolulu Weekly on arrest and imprisonment numbers. DPS explained that they simply didn't know the numbers, because prison-sentencing statistics are not broken down that way. People sent to jail are often put there on multiple charges.

    So we checked with NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (normal.org), which tracks marijuana-related arrest and conviction figures for all 50 states by using several crime-reporting surveys, including county-by-county data. According to NORML, from 1995 to 1997, there were over 4,650 pot busts in Hawai`i, an "arrest quotient" about half the national average. However, the Big Island alone had an arrest rate nearly twice the nation's in '95, though that figure dropped over the next two years to rest comparably with national averages. (Maui, Kaua`i and Honolulu have arrest rates less than the average, although Honolulu's arrest rate during that time jumped 19 percent while Maui's leaped 44 percent.)

    All told, based on NORML's numbers, some 135 people per 100,000 were brought in by police throughout the Islands between 1995 and 1997; we just can't tell you how many of them eventually ended up in the slammer. We can tell you that Hawai`i ranks 37th for marijuana arrest rates (Nevada is first, followed by North Dakota and North Carolina).

    On the Big Island, pot and hemp advocates have aggressively pushed for, if not decriminalization of the drug, easing up on drug raids. To that end, the Hawai`i County Council authorized a resolution on March 9 that approves the acceptance of federal funds to wipe out pot growers only on the condition that 1) helicopter flights and rappelling be limited when over residential areas (unless "probable cause" exists); 2) complaints are recorded publicly within 30 days of raids; 3) that a plan be developed to set aside a portion of confiscated cannabis for medical-marijuana use; and that 4) aerial defoliation sprays not be used by county police.

    FYI: According to NORML's easy-to-use and exhaustive database, possessionof less than 1 ounce of grass in Hawai`i is subject to a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Having more than an ounce but under 2.2 p ounds means up to one year in jail and $2,000. Up to 40 pounds could lead to a maximum penalty of up to five years and $10,000, and as much as 10 years and $25,000 above that amount. (Cultivation of plants can lead to similar penalties). Lastly, any pot confiscated from a vehicle causes ALL passengers to be charged with possession -- regardless of who supplied the stash. -- Chad Blair

    Source: Honolulu Weekly (HI)
    Author: Kevin Christopher Nelson
    Published: March 28-April 3, 2001
    Copyright: 2001 Honolulu Weekly Inc.
    Contact: letters@honoluluweekly.com
    Website: http://www.honoluluweekly.com/

    NORML http://www.norml.org/

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