Hawaii's medical marijuana bill, S.B. 862, is expected to face a final vote in the state Senate sometime between Monday and Thursday of next week, April 24-27. Last month, the Senate passed an earlier version of the bill with a 13-12 vote. If only one Senator changes his or her vote from "yes" to "no," the bill will fail. If the bill passes again, then Gov. Cayetano, who has supported it all again, has promised to sign it, and medical marijuana patients in Hawaii could have the right to legally grow and use marijuana as soon as early May.
If you live in Hawaii, then PLEASE CONTACT YOUR STATE SENATOR TODAY! Just visit http://www.mpp.org/Hawaii/ and take just two minutes or less to send a free e-mail or fax to your Hawaii state Senator. While you are doing that, please write down your Senator's phone number (the system will display it) and call as well, or call the Hawaii public access room at (808) 587-0478.
PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW IN HAWAII WHO MIGHT SUPPORT THE RIGHT OF PATIENTS WHO NEED MARIJUANA MEDICINALLY TO NOT BE ARRESTED FOR IT. Whether you are from Hawaii or not, you can use the web sites "tell-a-friend" form to let them know to visit http://www.mpp.org/Hawaii/ or forward this alert directly.
S.B. 862 would provide protection from arrest and imprisonment to patients who use and grow medical marijuana with their doctors' approval and physicians who make such recommendations, similar to the ballot initiatives that have passed in Alaska, California, Maine, Oregon, and Washington state, provisionally in Nevada (initiatives must pass twice there) and in Washington, DC (law's status still in limbo).
The initial version of this bill passed the Hawaii House of Representatives on March 7 by a vote of 32-18 vote. The same day, the Hawaii Senate passed a slightly different bill 13-12. The 13 "yes" votes in the Senate consisted of 11 Democrats and 2 Republicans, Anderson (R), Bunda, Chumbley, Fukunaga, Hanabusa, Ihara, Kanno, Levin, Matsunaga, Mizuguchi, Oakland, Slom (R) and Taniguchi. The 12 "no" votes, all Democrats opposing medical marijuana, were Buen, Chun, D. Ige, M. Ige, Iwase, Inouye, Kawamoto, Matsuura, Nakata, Sakamoto, Tam and Tanaka. The current version of S.B. 862 was passed by the House on April 11 by a vote of 29-20.
Most of the information in this article was provided by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). This Hawaii medical marijuana alert site, http://www.mpp.org/Hawaii/, is sponsored by MPP, DRCNet and the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii (http://www.drugsense.org/dpfhi/).