Medical cannabis dispensary bill must be passed
The latest “battle” a Big Island group of medical cannabis patients is waging underscores the need for a state law that provides patients with safe and affordable access to medicine for their illnesses (“Medical marijuana group vows to open ‘transfer station’, West Hawaii Today, Oct. 21). It is understandable why patients are desperate to take matters into their own hands because the Legislature failed to pass a dispensary bill during the last 13 years.
It’s a Catch 22 when the law allows licensed cannabis patients to use cannabis for illnesses yet remains silent on how to obtain it. This conundrum has prompted some patients to threaten to break the law and even risk arrest to bring attention to the severity of the situation. Could this be another court fight in the making?
In the early days of medical cannabis when there were only 1,000 or so patients in the state, the situation was not dire. But now with 11,000 patients — 5,000 on the Big Island — and no place to buy medicine, all kinds of problems are created. Among them, patients are forced to become criminals when buying from the black market, the quality of the medicine is not guaranteed, the supply of medicine is inconsistent and patients are exposed to criminals selling seriously harmful and addictive drugs such as crystal methamphetamine, also known as “ice,” and heroin. The current situation supports an environment of criminality.
Whereas, the Big Island Chapter of Americans for Safe Access attempts to lobby the Legislature to pass substantive laws that will advance the safety and accessibility to medical grade cannabis, we understand patients who are tired of waiting for the Legislature to act. Hopefully, this latest move will add urgency to remedy the crisis patients now find themselves in.
Demand that your representatives pass a statewide medical cannabis dispensary bill during the 2014 legislative session.
Big Island Chapter
Americans for Safe Access