January 09, 2013 | 08:33 AMNEW FREE, CONFIDENTIAL MED. MARIJUANA NETWORK
The use of cannabis for strictly medical reasons is legal in the State of Hawaii since 2005, but good luck to patients out here who want it. As far as law enforcement is concerned, drugs are drugs.
Brian Murphy, the director of Patients Without Time, a Maui-based medical marijuana co-op, found this out the hard way. In November 2008, the Maui Police Department launched Operation Weedkiller, which led to the arrest of Murphy on charges of selling marijuana and the confiscation of his group's plants.
Now there's a new FREE and CONFIDENTIAL support network with branches across the state for those who need medical cannabis. It's called the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii (MCCHI), and the ACLU's Hawaii office absolutely loves it, as they stated in a Jan. 3 blog post:
"The Coalition will strengthen the voices of the thousands in Hawaii who are impacted by the medical marijuana law and support the needs of this growing community. We encourage people to join to show support, learn more, and stay informed about medical cannabis best practices in Hawaii."
According to the MCCHI website, the network will offer a variety of services to patients across the state:
• "Stay informed about the latest developments in Hawaii's medical cannabis program, including proposed changes or threats to existing law.
• "Learn how you can help expand the medical cannabis program, and fight back dangerous restrictions.
• "Share best practices with other patients, caregivers and doctors.
• "Access information on the latest medical cannabis laws and research in Hawai'i and from around the world.
• "Receive a yearly reminder via email, phone, or mail–whatever works best for you–when your medical cannabis registration is due to be renewed.
• "Have the opportunity to amplify YOUR voice to ensure that the medical cannabis program effectively serves the people of Hawai'i."
There will also be organizational meetings on Oahu, Maui, Hawaii Island and Kauai. For more information, check out mcchi.org or email email@example.com. And remember, it's free and confidential.
WHEN FAKE REEFS ATTACK REEL CORAL REEFS
Sometimes it's the smallest stories in a newspaper that prove the most interesting. On Jan. 5, I was skimming through The Maui News when I found the small, unbylined article "DLNR to present plan for repairing coral off Kihei" on page A3. The headline is unremarkable, but the story below it was anything but.
I had no idea that on Dec. 2, 2009 (according to a 110-page report on the subject written by Honolulu-based Planning Solutions, Inc.), an American Marine barge above the Keawakapu Artificial Reef Site began dumping 1,400 "Z" block modules–which weigh about 1,200 kilograms–as part of a state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) effort to increase the size of the artificial reef there and, thus, attract more fish to the area. But something went wrong, and the barge ended up dropping approximately 125 of those modules on actual, living coral.
There's grim humor in this. For marine biologists, this kind of thing is pretty close to a crime. Indeed, the state levies heavy fines on those found to have damaged living coral regardless of whether the damage was done accidentally or on purpose. But to injure a coral reef while trying to build an artificial reef? That's too much.
Then again, the construction of artificial reefs in Hawaii, which have been going on since the 1960s, used to be a far more haphazard and questionable affair. Here again is the Planning Solutions report:
"These early efforts at establishing artificial reefs in Hawaii used the technology then available as did other reef programs in the U.S.," stated the report. "Initially these reefs worked well, but over a long period of time many have proved to be relatively poor fish attractants because of the common practice of using unmodified scrap materials (here car bodies and concrete pipe) that are just dumped at sea. The resulting reefs have had low profiles, little refuge space, poor stability characteristics (pipes roll and crush benthic organisms) and/or short life expectancies. If they remain in one location, car bodies usually corrode away in 3 to 5 years... The lack of stability in the materials used means that benthic communities which serve as a food source to many fish cannot become permanently established. The lack of refuge space provided by the materials used allows spear and net fishermen to over-exploit resident fishes; the absence of adequate topographical relief, translates into less than maximal enhancement."
In any case, Planning Solutions is recommending that the state move the 125 misplaced modules. They'll present their plan on Thursday, Jan. 10 at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary education center (726 S. Kihei Rd.). The meeting will last from 6-8pm.
NEED HELP? CALL LARRY!
Even if he only rarely (or never) pops his head up in Hawaiian waters, just having Oracle founder/billionaire Larry Ellison owning the island of Lanai is a tremendous asset for everyone in the state who wants to make a quick buck. Not only is he one of the richest guys on the planet, but he also loves to buy things–sports teams, yachts, islands, etc. Loves it.
So I wasn't really surprised when I read in The Maui News on Jan. 6 that Lahaina Welding owner Drake Thomas, who just got smacked down hard by the Weinberg Foundation (they didn't much care for his plan to cut Front Street and build a 22-acre harbor on the nonprofit's land in Lahaina near the Cannery Mall) talk about running off to Ellison for help.
"Thomas said that the new West Maui Harbor could be an asset for ferry services from Lahaina to Lanai," the News reported.
Because when you're Larry Ellison, and you've already purchased 98 percent of an entire island that's home to roughly 3,000 people, I guess anything's possible.
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