Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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A lowest law enforcement priority of adult personal use of cannabis will be placed on the Hawaii ballot. The proposal defines personal use as an individual who has less than 24 plants or 24 ounces of cannabis. According to The Honolulu Advertiser August 19, 2008 article,("Big Isle Vote Could Lessen Marijuana Enforcement") "The off-and-on political struggle over eradication and enforcement of anti-marijuana laws on the Big Island is moving to the fall election, when voters will be asked whether law enforcement officials should make busts of small-time marijuana users the county's lowest policing priority. The proposed ordinance advanced by a group called 'Project Peaceful Sky'--and ordered onto the ballot by a split vote of the County Council--would also prohibit the county from accepting any further state or federal money for marijuana eradication operations."
The article states, "However, County Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida said the proposed ordinance to be placed on the ballot may be unenforceable even if the voters do approve it because it apparently violates the pre-emption doctrine arising from the U.S. and Hawai'i state constitutions. That doctrine says legislative bodies such as the County Council cannot dictate to executive branch agencies such as the police and prosecutors how to run their day-to-day operations. The initiative to de-emphasize marijuana enforcement appears to do just that, Ashida said, and he will ask the state attorney general's office to rule on whether the ordinance is legal if the voters approve it."
The article adds, "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. Jacobson said a variety of people told him privately they wanted to sign the petition, but were embarrassed or were afraid to sign for fear they would suffer repercussions at work. Adam Lehmann, board director of the Peaceful Sky effort, said his group collected the nearly 5,000 signatures in about two months, proving there is significant support for the idea. 'People are really tired of seeing money misappropriated away from education and healthcare to fund a military-style war on a plant,' said Lehmann, 30. '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."