Marijuana: Hawaii's Big Island to Vote on Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Initiative

Petitioners for an initiative making adult marijuana offenses the lowest law enforcement priority on Hawaii's pot-friendly Big Island failed to gather enough valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot, but it is going there anyway. After reviewing the signature count, the county council voted 5-4 to put the measure on the ballot.
Volcano National Park, Hawaii Island
Led by a Big Island group called Project Peaceful Sky, the lowest priority initiative would bar police from going after people growing 24 plants or less or possessing 24 ounces of marijuana or less. It also orders the county to forego any state or federal funds to be used for controversial marijuana eradication efforts on the island.

For decades now, marijuana cultivation on the Big Island and law enforcement eradication efforts -- especially those carried out by noisy, low-flying helicopters -- have been a political issue. In 2000 and again last year, the county council refused federal eradication funds (although the county ended up providing such funding itself last year).

Local law enforcement is not happy. Police Major Sam Thomas, who oversees police operations in East Hawaii, worried that the initiative would create "gray areas" that could hurt police anti-drug efforts. "There is so much gray in there, and police officers, we don't do well in gray. We need to have a lot of black and white," he told the Honolulu Advertiser.

Thomas also worried to the Advertiser that growing 24 plants could create windfall profits for growers and that the initiative would hurt methamphetamine enforcement. Now, Thomas explained, when police find pot plants growing outside a suspected meth dealer's home, they can use that evidence to get a search warrant. It wouldn't be like that if the initiative passed, he said. "In this case, if I wanted to use the marijuana as the basis for a search warrant, no, I won't be allowed to do that," he complained.

But County Councilman Bob Jacobson, who introduced the council resolution to put the proposal on the ballot, said he wants to see the issue put to a public vote. He told the Advertiser that a number of people had told him they supported the initiative but were afraid to sign the petitions.

"Personally, I just believe it needs to be done," Jacobson said. "There are better, higher priorities for police than running around trying to find a few casual marijuana users."

Adam Lehmann, an organic farmer, spiritual pot smoker, and board director for Peaceful Sky told the Advertiser there is support for the initiative. "People are really tired of seeing money misappropriated away from education and healthcare to fund a military-style war on a plant," said Lehmann. "It's clearly going to give law enforcement more time and resources to focus on serious crimes. It's going to provide lots of space in our prisons, it's going to help courts run smoother, and it's going to essentially save this county's taxpayers millions of dollars every year," because they will avoid the costs of strict marijuana enforcement, he said.

Lowest priority initiatives have already been approved in six California cities; Seattle; Denver; Missoula County, Montana; Hailey, Idaho; and Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Peaceful Sky

Praise God!


is it legal to grow now?

legal growing

It is supposed to be Paradise according to all the Realtors so since most people would agree the the Good Lord created paradise including weeds than Why Not allow it. It might make up my mind on whether to buy a million dollar property on the Big Island and spend a 100k a year helping the economy.

we grow grow grow



Its the stupid remarks and the idiot Ideas that ruin it

Yes I think all Ideas like lets plant at the fedral places is why they advocate against us. Lets get it lagal, it should have been legal a long time ago. Stop and think befor you right because everyone will listen and pick it apart. So dont give them any reason . WEED IS MY GLASS OF WINE>>>.

I agree.... The hardest part

I agree....
The hardest part about getting weed legalized is the fact that dumb asses like yourself can't shut up about weed. I smoke, but it doesn't rule my life. I grow and I love doing that, but making it the center point of conversation is a little redundant. I also believe that if you are going to sell, we need to give back a percentage of the profits to the community... And above all there needs to be regulations on underage smokers... I have a son and as long as he is under my roof he will not be allowed to smoke weed, nor do I smoke around him. I truly believe to get weed legalized both non smokers and smokers alike need to compromise and try to come to the table with the best solutions to help communities thrive by using profits for the greatest good.

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