Sunday | October 23, 2016
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Letters 4-30-13

Medical marijuana

Bill to update antiquated program held hostage

More than 20 cannabis bills were introduced at the state Legislature this session reflecting changing attitudes and increased interest in reform at a time when tight budgets require it and the need to make changes to an antiquated state medical cannabis program is critical.

Most of these bills died in committee or were never heard. Among them was the dispensary bill that has an approval rating of 78 percent of Hawaii voters polled. The bill would have provided safe access for the nearly 11,000 state patients and would have supplied them with quality medicine and strains to treat specific diseases and conditions.

It is ironic that Sen. Josh Green, a medical doctor, kept this bill from being heard. Patients will continue now to buy their medicine from drug dealers and thugs. Mahalo senator for that.

More pathetic was that the two medical cannabis bills that had made it to the conference committee were held hostage by Sen. Green when he demanded he would not approve a bill transferring the program from public safety to health unless his amendment be included to allow only primary care physicians to certify qualifying patients. What his amendment will do is eliminate a huge number of patients from the program as the majority of doctors, VA hospitals and HMO’s do not certify medical cannabis patients.

Other doctors choose to remain ignorant about cannabis’ healing properties or fear license revocation. What Sen. Green did was sabotage the patients who choose to treat their illnesses in a natural way and not be tied to dangerous and potentially addictive prescriptive drugs.

What happened to the Hippocratic Oath, Dr. Green, swearing that you will do no harm? You’ve just harmed many sick people. Has power gotten the best of you? Maybe it’s high time for a change in Kona/Ka‘u.

Andrea Tischer

Chair of Americans for Safe Access, Big Island Chapter