Video by David Corrigan, voice of Stephanie Salazar
FERN ACRES, Hawaii – The use of medial marijuana became legal in Hawaii after Senate Bill 862 was signed into law in the year 2000. Since then, patients like Mike Ruggles say major flaws in the law remain.
Like this Catch 22: the law only allows patients to possess a certain amount of marijuana, but it is illegal for them to dispose of it, even if they are over the limit.
That’s why Ruggles, who uses cannabis to help with his arthritis, says he and his Alternative Pain Management Club – some of whom were seated at the table of his Fern Acres home the day of our interview – are pushing for a legal cannabis transfer station. More on that in a later installment of this series.
Right now, the group is also focused on the State Capitol, where activities at the legislature could end up solving their problem… or make all their hard work go up in smoke.
Take for instance last year’s senate bill 642, put together by South Kona senator Josh Green. It increases the amount of marijuana a patient may have, but also requires a primary care physician to certify the need for medical marijuana, as opposed to the “blue card” process currently used. Ruggles says that bill alone will be a big problem come January 2015 when it goes into effect.
SB 642 was a last minute gut-and-replace bill that was created during conference committee. No hearing was ever held.
As Alternative Pain Management club member Brittany Neal explains, it’s a challenge to follow the legislative process, especially from another island.
This week we’ll be following some of those bills that have surfaced in this year’s legislative session, and we’ll talk to the club members about their never-ending quest to stay on the right side of the law… even when current rules make it impossible.