House Speaker Joe Souki Mentions Need for Dispensaries in Opening Remarks

Today was the opening of the Hawai`i state legislature’s 2014 session. It has been A wild day at the state capitol with protests, snacks, poi and punch in abundance. One of the most memorable occurences, however, was a moment in the middle of house speaker Joe Souki’s opening remarks. He said:

“Recently, there has been much news about other states legalizing the use of marijuana. While I am not suggesting we go that route, Hawaii does permit the limited cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes. In spite of that, there are no dispensaries or places where you can legally buy cannabis even with a prescription.  I think we need to fix that gap in the law before we talk about anything else.”

While some readers will be disheartened to hear that Mr. Souki doesn’t think that we should go that route, his statement may hint that the legislature is warming to the idea of dispensaries, which our coalition considers the number one legislative priority.

Read the rest of Speaker Souki’s remarks here.

Drug Policy Forum Speaks to KITV About the Need for Dispensaries

Visit the KITV site to see a video.
Pamela Lichty and Teri Heede, a medical Cannabis Patient, talk to KITV about the upcoming legalization in Colorado, and about how the laws in Hawaii may change in the coming years.

In Hawai’i despite the fact that medical marijuana is legal for patients like Teri who rely on it in order to manage their pain, there is no legal way to get marijuana. Patients must grow their own or ask a “caregiver” to grow for them. Caregivers can only grow medicine for one patient at a time. Hopefully though, this will be changing soon. According to Pamela Lichty, “A dispensary is really a crying need. Many of the more than 10,000 patients are asking for it as their number one ask.” Hopefully, Colorado signals a shift in attitudes about Marijuana that will lead to a more just and more reasonable system in Hawai’i.

Why a Veteran is on a Mission to Make Cannabis Available to Those Suffering from PTSD

perry_parks_interviewThis story comes to us from alternet. Perry Parks, who you may remember from the documentary The Good Soldier, wants to provide access to medical cannabis for the 20 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with symptoms of PTSD.

While 20 states and Washington D.C. have medical cannabis programs, only a handful recognize PTSD as a qualifying affliction. Read the full article to see what Parks has been doing to help change this.

International drug law reform expert to speak in Honolulu 11/1/13

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii is co-founder of the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii – congratulations on 20 years serving Hawaii!

“Celebrating 20 Years of Science, Reason and Compassion ”

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i’s 20th Anniversary Event
Friday, November 1, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Ohelo Building ~ Ka`ikena Laua`e Room

HONOLULU – Thursday, October 17, 2013 – In the last twenty years, Hawai`i has enacted drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations with the support of the voters and the legislature. Join us to celebrate the work of those individuals and organizations that have tirelessly worked towards drug policy based on concern for human dignity, effective outcomes, public health considerations, and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Speaking will be Ethan Nadelmann Ph.D., JD., Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance – The Nation’s Premiere Drug Policy Organization . Mr. Nadelmann’s talk will be on “Ending the War on Drugs: Are We Really at the Tipping Point? ”

For more than two decades, Nadelmann helped build a broad-based movement for reform on the strength of a strategic insight that’s both simple and profound: The fight against repressive drug laws isn’t about championing the rights of drug users – even of a substance as popular as marijuana. It’s about fighting against federal overreach and the needless human toll of drug prohibition. Read more about Ethan at:

The dinner will also honor Professor of Law Emeritus and former Dean, University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, Richard “Dick” Miller. Miller has never shied away from the new or the controversial. He arrived in Hawai`i to help establish the new law school at UH in 1973 and in 1993, 20 years later, he was one of the first Board members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i. His guidance and sharp legal mind is still a beacon for the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i in the roiling seas known as the war on drugs.

Tickets are $50 at the door and include a full dinner buffet and desserts. Limited seating is still available for the November 1 event. For further information, or to reserve a seat, please RSVP to or call (808) 988-4386 .

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii was founded in 1993 and remains Hawai`i’s voice
for pragmatic drug policies that minimize economic, social, and human costs.

Hnl Civil Beatʻs Chad Blair: Itʻs High Time to Legalize Pot (no login needed)

“Hawaii is one of 20 states along with the District of Columbia that have made legal the use of medical marijuana, although the program has been imperfect. This year, however, the Hawaii Legislature took a major step in recognizing that med pot is about health needs and not law enforcement when it transferred control of the state’s program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reverses position on MMJ, upcoming special: Weed

Watch the special, “Weed” on Sunday, 8/11/13:


Read the article:

In a stunning and personal reversal of his long-held skepticism of the health benefits of cannabis, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and Chief Medical Correspondent for CNN apologizes for spreading “misinformation” and supports real, independent research on medical cannabis.

“I am here to apologize.

I apologize because I didn’t look hard enough, until now. I didn’t look far enough. I didn’t review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.”

“Looking forward, I am especially intrigued by studies like those in Spain and Israel looking at the anti-cancer effects of marijuana and its components. I’m intrigued by the neuro-protective study by Lev Meschoulam in Israel, and research in Israel and the United States on whether the drug might help alleviate symptoms of PTSD. I promise to do my part to help, genuinely and honestly, fill the remaining void in our knowledge.”

Illinois becomes 20th state to legalize medical marijuana

Hawaii welcomes Illinois to the now 40% of U.S. states with a program for safe access to marijuana by sick and dying people. Illinois, like Hawaii, passed this measure legislatively, which can be more tricky than referendum, due to the intense lobbying and political will required of advocates and legislators. Well done! the Illinois program includes a tightly regulated dispensary system, something the Hawaii program, though established in 2000, still lacks – a terrible “catch-22” for our patients who can get a medical marijuana recommendation, but have no way to get their medicine without finding seeds (which are illegal) and growing it themselves or resorting to the black market. The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii and allies  will keep fighting for safe, legal access to medical marijuana in Hawaii, including a sensible dispensary system.


Gov. Pat Quinn took a moment to speak at the University of Chicago before signing Illinois’ new medical marijuana bill, saying it was an “important day, I think, for healing” in the state.,0,6053984.story