Aloha Justice Advocates!
I returned this week from the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs convention where I am happy to report that two justice resolutions passed their committees and then the entire convention of delegates.
The first one was supporting the establishment of statewide dispensaries for medical marijuana patients; the second one is asking the Department of Public Safety to fully implement the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (reinvesting incarceration funds in community programming to help those struggling with mental health and substance disorders) and to produce a comprehensive analysis of our incarcerated population before expanding jail and prison beds.
I am happy that these resolutions passed as the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs is 55 years old and has thousands of members in and outside of Hawai`i nei. Since Hawaiians suffer the worst health problems and are the largest group incarcerated, these resolutions are very important for legislators to really understand the humongous impact this injustice has on our host culture.
Here for pdf of the 2 resolutions.
ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
RESOLUTION NO. 14 – 18
SUPPORTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STATEWIDE REGULATED DISPENSARY SYSTEM FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
WHEREAS, research and data indicate that Native Hawaiians suffer some of the worst health inequities in the State of Hawai‘i and rival disparate health conditions across the Continental U.S. (Papa Ola Lökahi, N.D.; WHIAAPI Fact Sheet, N.D.), and
WHEREAS, Native Hawaiians have the highest rate of deaths due to cancer compared to any other ethnic group in Hawai‘i (Native Hawaiian Health Factsheet 2011), and
WHEREAS, medical marijuana has been found to reduce the negative impacts of chemotherapy and stimulate appetite of patients, and
WHEREAS, medical marijuana has been found to reduce seizures with dramatic evidence from the families in Hawai`i and Colorado with children suffering from various forms of epilepsy including Dravet Syndrome, and
WHEREAS, the qualifying conditions in Hawai`i’s Medical Marijuana Program include Cancer, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Cachexia (wasting syndrome), Pain, Nausea, Seizures, Muscle spasms, and Multiple sclerosis, and
WHEREAS, Hawaii’s Medical Use of Marijuana Law was enacted on June 14, 2000, as Act 228, Session Laws of Hawaii 2000, to provide medical relief for seriously ill individuals in the State; and
WHEREAS, implementation of Act 228, Session Laws of Hawaii 2000, recognizes the beneficial use of marijuana in treating or alleviating pain or other symptoms associated with certain debilitating illnesses, and recognizes the medical benefits of marijuana; and
WHEREAS, Hawaii’s Medical Use of Marijuana Law is silent on how patients can obtain medical marijuana if they or their caregivers are unable to grow their own supplies of medical marijuana; and
WHEREAS, many of the State’s almost 13,000 qualifying patients lack the ability to grow their own supply of medical marijuana due to a number of factors, including disability, limited space to grow medical marijuana, and an inadequate supply of medical marijuana to take care of their medical needs; and
WHEREAS, a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana is urgently needed by qualifying patients in the State; and
WHEREAS, 20 states and Washington, D.C., have medical marijuana laws, and 13 of these 20 jurisdictions have an active regulated system of dispensaries; and
WHEREAS, several other states are in the process of implementing laws relating to the establishment of dispensaries for medical marijuana; and
WHEREAS, a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana will enable qualifying patients to obtain an inspected, safe supply of medical cannabis that is labeled as to the composition, strain, and strength of the cannabis to be most helpful to each patient’s condition; and
WHEREAS, in response to Act 29, First Special Session Laws of Hawaii 2009, the Legislative Reference Bureau published a report entitled, “Access, Distribution, and Security Components of State Medical Marijuana Programs,” which discussed the policies and procedures for access, distribution, security, and other relevant issues related to the medical use of marijuana in all states that had a medical marijuana program; and
WHEREAS, establishment of a tightly regulated statewide dispensary system was the number one recommendation of the 2010 Medical Marijuana Working Group; and
WHEREAS, the transfer of Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health in 2015 is an acknowledgement by the Legislature that the program is a public health program; and
WHEREAS, the 2014 Hawai`i Legislature passed HCR 48 establishing a “Task Force to Develop Recommendations for the Establishment of a Regulated Statewide Dispensary System for Medical Marijuana” that is currently meeting; and
WHEREAS, the Task Force has 20 members including the Attorney General, or the Attorney; the Director of Health; the Director of Public Safety; the Director of Taxation; the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; the Director of the Public Policy Center; the Prosecuting Attorney of the City and County of Honolulu; a police chief chosen by the Law Enforcement Coalition; the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health; the Chairperson of the House Committee on Health; state senator who is selected by the Senate President to serve on the Task Force; a state representative who is selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives; representative from the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; a representative of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; a physician participating in Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program; 2 participants in Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program, one of whom is a patient who is over the age of 18, and one of whom is a parent or guardian of a patient who is under the age of ten; a caregiver participating in Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program; a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai`i; a representative from the Hawaii Medical Association; and a representative from the Coalition for a Drug-Free Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, the Task Force has formed a Policy Subcommittee that submitted its first report to the Task Force on August 12, 2014 with their recommendations and discussion on four main policy issues: 1) Appropriate number of dispensaries statewide; 2) Appropriate location of dispensaries; 3) Structure of dispensaries (non-profit, for-profit, government-run); 4) Framework for manufacturing; and
WHEREAS, a regulated dispensary system for medical marijuana will comport with the spirit and intent of the Medical Use of Marijuana Law: compassion for Hawai`i’s suffering patients and the provision of safe, legal, and reliable access for qualifying patients; and
WHEREAS, there are many models of medical marijuana dispensary systems available in other state jurisdictions, including models that were enacted after the passage of Hawaii’s Medical Use of Marijuana Law;
NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 55TH annual convention at Waikoloa, Hawai‘i this 1st day of November 2014, that it supports the establishment of a statewide regulated dispensary system for medical marijuana patients and caregivers; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a certified copy of this resolution be given to the Governor of Hawaii, State Senate President, State Speaker of the House, the Department of Health and the CEO of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
ASSOCIATION OF HAWAIIAN CIVIC CLUBS
RESOLUTION NO. 14 – 19
STRONGLY URGES THE STATE TO FULLY IMPLEMENT AND FUND THE JUSTICE REINVESTMENT INITIATIVE BEFORE IT BEGINS PLANNING FOR EXPANDED BED SPACE FOR HAWAI`I’S INCARCERATED PERSONS
WHEREAS, the Department of Public Safety issued a Request for Information (RFI) “to assist the State of Hawai`i in learning more about potential approaches to designing, building, maintaining and financing for the new or expanded facilities”; and
WHEREAS, the over-representation of Native Hawaiians in Hawai`i’s criminal justice system has been acknowledged most recently in the 2010 report released by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs entitled The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System, and
WHEREAS, the people of Hawai`i take on the rightful kuleana of caring for those who are incarcerated and remembering that, regardless of their crimes, the kuleana/responsibility to malama them is a basic tenet of our culture, and
WHEREAS, the community bears this responsibility because whatever crimes that were committed were done so in the context of a community (and government) that has failed them, and
WHEREAS, recent data from the department of public safety show that seventy percent of the prison population are serving sentences for nonviolent crimes or revocations, and
WHEREAS, research shows that community-based programming is more effective both economically and socially (Aos, et al 2001) and the reduction in the number of individuals sent to prison as well as those who are sent back for technical violations could result in a significant decrease in the Native Hawaiian incarcerated population, and
WHEREAS, in 2010, Hawai’i’s Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches committed to working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center’s (herein “Justice Center”) nationally recognized criminal justice policy experts to advance Justice Reinvestment in Hawai`i; and
WHEREAS, the goal of Justice Reinvestment is to reduce the prison population by using evidence-based and data-driven strategies that have proven success in many other jurisdictions, and
WHEREAS, these analysts provided fiscally-sound, data driven criminal justice policy recommendations to reduce the overall incarcerated population in order to break the cycle of recidivism and make our communities safer; and
WHEREAS, the analysts from the Council of State Governments who conducted the research on Hawai`i’s criminal justice system NEVER recommended building more correctional facilities, with public funding, or through public-private partnerships; and
WHEREAS, according to the Justice Center, the actual and projected prison population is expected to decrease upon enactment of JR policies from 2012-2018 from 6,060 to 5,277 prisoners; and
WHEREAS, some correctional facilities are in need of repair and renovation due to lack of maintenance; and
WHEREAS, public schools are not torn down simply because renovations are needed, or because the design is antiquated by “modem” standards; and
WHEREAS, the same standard can be applied to prisons when more cost-effective and evidence-based strategies exist that will result in reduced incarcerated population, decreased recidivism, and increased public safety, along with significant cost savings; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs at its 55TH annual convention at Waikōloa, Hawai‘i this 1st day of November 2014, that it strongly urges the state to fully implement and fun the Justice Reinvestment Initiative before it begins planning for expanded bed space for Hawaii’s incarcerated persons; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the AHCC calls upon the Department of Public Safety to do a complete and comprehensive analysis of the needs of Hawai`i’s incarcerated population serving their sentences in Hawai`i and other jurisdictions; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT this analysis shall include, but not be limited to, the classification status of each incarcerated person, his/her minimum sentence; his/her tentative parole date, if applicable; and the current location of each person under custody; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT this analysis include a breakdown by race with specific counts for incarcerated Native Hawaiians, both men and women; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT a certified copy of this resolution be given to the Governor of Hawai`i, State Senate President, State Speaker of the House, CEO Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.