Debate Continues Over Changes in Hawaii's Medical Marijuana Law

Published: Mar. 18, 2008 at 8:12 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 18, 2008 at 11:24 PM HST
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By Paul Drewes

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- It's a tempest over pot as lawmakers debate changes in Hawaii's Medical Marijuana law.

Patients want to preserve their rights to use what they see, as a vital medication.

The meeting over medical marijuana begins on a light note.

But Representatives and supporters of this drug that is legal for some, quickly got down to the serious business of problems which affect some patients legally allowed to light up in the islands.

"Its very distressing cause these are sick people."

Some claim individual's rights are going up in smoke, because the law is not enforced equally around the state.

"Out on maui, people are being robbed by police under the cover of the law."

The Maui Police Chief was not available to comment on departmental policy. But in earlier testimony, Chief Thomas Phillips stated Maui Police do "not believe in supporting the Medical Marijuana Program in its entirety."

"It's a freaking state law they have to respect state law."

Joe Rattner has seen firsthand what cannibis can do.

"Without it I would have died. Without it I would be dead."

He has also seen what happens when patients' supplies run out and there are no options.

"I was 102 pounds and I needed a blood transfusion for weeks and I came out and I have smoked everyday since and I've gained 40 pounds."

He and others are pushing for the current measure that would fine tune Hawaii's Medical Marijuana laws by looking at whether patients have an adequate supply, and would also see if safe growing centers can be developed on each of the islands.

The current measure at the State Capitol would allow patients to bring pot with them, just like any other medication, as they travel interisland.