state briefs 2/13


Hawaii marijuana bill goes up in smoke

HONOLULU — A bill that would have legalized marijuana in Hawaii died in the state House on Tuesday.

House judiciary committee Chairman Karl Rhoads said Tuesday that he decided to kill the bill after learning from House leadership that the initiative does not have enough votes to pass the House.

Key lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled House supported the measure, including the speaker and the majority leader.

The proposal would have legalized marijuana for recreational use for people aged 21 or older.

The initiative ignited an outpouring of public testimony that reflected sharply divided public opinion.

At a public hearing on the bill, law enforcement officials told Hawaii lawmakers that marijuana is a dangerous drug.

They said the societal costs of legalizing weed aren’t worth the risks of allowing marijuana culture to proliferate.

Opponents of the bill included the state attorney general, the county police departments and the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii.

Numerous community members voiced opinions in favor of legalization, along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and the Drug Policy Action Group.

Proponents said the move would conserve state resources and respect residents’ freedom of choice.

They said the state’s current law against marijuana disproportionately impacts Native Hawaiians and other minority groups.

Medical marijuana is already legal in Hawaii.

The attempt to legalize the drug for recreational use comes just months after Colorado and Washington passed similar laws.

Federal law still prohibits possession or distribution of marijuana.

Man who got big refund pleads guilty

HONOLULU — A man who cashed an income tax refund check for nearly $4 million has pleaded guilty to filing a false claim against the Internal Revenue Service, as well as retaliatory liens against federal judges and prosecutors.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser says Francis E. Chandler III pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court to making a false claim for nearly $4 million in September 2008. Chandler faces a maximum five-year prison term plus a fine. He also has agreed to repay the government about $3 million after about $900,000 was recovered.

State business records indicate that Chandler is the manager of a small repair and cleaning services company, and a real estate agent.

Father sentenced to 10 years in daughter’s death

LIHUE, Kauai — A Kauai man has been sentenced for his part in a traffic accident in which his baby daughter was killed.

KITV-TV reports that 30-year-old Michael Pagelsdorf of Lihue was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The Lihue man pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the 2011 accident in which his 14-month-old daughter Kaylie was killed.

Pagelsdorf was holding his daughter in his lap when the SUV he was driving crashed into a car stopped in traffic ahead of him on Kumualii Highway. The baby was fatally injured when the SUV’s air bag deployed.

Prosecutors say Pagelsdorf had methamphetamine and marijuana in his blood at the time of the crash and was driving on a suspended license.

Lanai gets full-time public health nurse

WAILUKU, Maui — Lanai now has a full-time public health nurse.

Lanai had to wait nearly three years for a full-time public health nurse to come to Lanai, but the Maui News reports that Linda Mau is working at her job at Lanai Community Hospital.

Mau has been a registered nurse for about 27 years. She had previously worked on Maui for about 13 years. She traveled to the island once or twice a month after longtime nurse Jackie Woolsey retired in 2009.