Hawaii Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill: Governor to Sign First Bill of its Kind in the United States 4/28/00

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items


recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed


The Hawaii Senate passed a bill today to remove state-level criminal penalties for seriously ill people who use marijuana with their doctors' approval. Already approved by the state House of Representatives and endorsed by Governor Ben Cayetano, the new law will be the first of its kind to be enacted by a state legislature, rather than through a ballot initiative. Although numerous state legislatures have enacted medical marijuana research laws since the late 1970s, the Hawaii law is the first to effectively remove criminal penalties for medical marijuana users.

The bill, S.B. 862, is similar to the medical marijuana initiatives that passed in all seven states (and the District of Columbia) in which they have appeared on the ballot since 1996. Although federal law criminalizes the medical use of marijuana, because 99% of all marijuana arrests in the United States are made by state and local officials, changing state laws can effectively protect nearly all medical marijuana users from arrest and imprisonment.

"The second wave of the campaign to protect medical marijuana users is underway," said Chuck Thomas, director of communications for the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which supported the effort to pass the landmark legislation in Hawaii. "The first wave was the passage of state ballot initiatives, the second is state legislation, and the third will be federal legislation."

A bipartisan medical marijuana bill made some progress in Maryland this year, and MPP expects it to pass next year. MPP will also work to get medical marijuana bills introduced in 40 other states.

"We're grateful that Hawaii's elected officials care so much about seriously ill people," said Pamela Lichty, vice president of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, the main proponent of the bill. "This is the first time in US history that a state legislature has enacted a law to allow patients to possess and grow marijuana. Now we must ensure that the law is effectively implemented to help patients without causing any harm to the public."

The Marijuana Policy Project is online at http://www.mpp.org. The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii is on the web at http://www.drugsense.org/dpfhi/.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #135, 4/28/00 Do Taxpayers Get a Discount at the Door? DEA, State Agencies Cosponsor Michigan Anti-Drug Reform Conference | Hawaii Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill: Governor to Sign First Bill of its Kind in the United States | Veterans to McCaffrey: Stay Out of Colombia | Hiding in Plain Sight: Panel Maps Drug War's Hidden Costs | New Latin America Drug War Site Pulls No Punches | Patients and Activists Rally in Washington, DC for Millennium Medical Marijuana March | This is Only a Test | URGENT Action Items | New Study Shows Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice System | Events | Media Scan | Editorial: Image of an Invasion
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]