(BIVN) – Medical cannabis advocate Mike Ruggles filed paperwork on Thursday in order to officially run for Hawaiʻi County mayor.
“I don’t have deep pockets,” Ruggles said outside the county elections office in Hilo, “and I’m gonna need a lot of help to keep the Big Island from becoming a police state.”
Just a few months ago, Ruggles was found not guilty after a trial in Hilo court, following his 2015 arrest for operating his medical cannabis Alternative Pain Management Pu’uhonua Collective in Fern Acres.
“A group of people want me to come up to give the people of the Big Island a better choice than … the current prosecutor who’s running for mayor right now,” Ruggles said, referring to Hawai‘i County Prosecuting Attorney Mitch Roth, who announced his campaign for mayor back in December.
“We’ll let the people decide that,” Ruggles said, “but between administrative forfeiture and matching funds, they’ve been attacking cannabis users. We don’t need to. Hawaiʻi grows the best cannabis in the world, and the best hemp in the world. Hemp is now legal across America. There’s no reason why we can’t be a very productive and prosperous island if we take care of this.”
“There’s over 30,000 medical cannabis patients with the majority of them on the Big Island,” Ruggles said, “and so I’m still fighting for them and I’m also fighting for the lowest law enforcement priority.”
Current Mayor Harry Kim has not publicly announced whether or not he plans to seek reelection. A spokesperson for the mayor said on Thursday afternoon that she did not know what he plans to do.
Signs promoting Wendell Kaʻehuʻaeʻa for mayor can already be seen about town. He, along with Ruggles and Roth, join four other names who have “pulled papers”, but not necessarily filed, to run for mayor as of February 14, according to state elections documents. Those names are Bob Fitzgerald of Kealakekua, Grayden Haʻi-Kelly of Kailua-Kona, Abolghassem A. Sadegh of Hilo, and Tante Urban of Kailua-Kona.
The candidate filing deadline is June 2, 2020.