TESTIMONY ON 'GREEN
HILO - Big Island lawyer and Teen Court judge Cynthia
Linet smoked marijuana every night for six months during her chemotherapy
treatments for cancer in 1998, she told members of the County Council
Tuesday in testimony opposing the marijuana eradication program.
Linet was among 14 people who testified against "Green Harvest"
which is funded by at least $500,000 annually in state and federal
grants. Councilmembers won't address the program's funding until
March, when they begin work on the budget. However, residents
offered testimony at the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday when an October
marijuana eradication report from the police chief was taken up.
That report revealed 2,012 marijuana plants were seized during an
Oct. 21 - 23 mission in East Hawaii, and an Oct. 28 - 30
mission in West Hawaii. In the South Kona area alone, 411 plants,
including 200 seedling plants in Alae, were seized, according to the
At Tuesday's hearing, Linet said she is not an
advocate of teenagers smoking marijuana, but noted some adults might
prefer "a hit on a pipe" to "a martini." She said she used marijuana to
combat non-Hodgkins lymphoma and, not becoming addicted to the "benign
drug," she quit when her chemotherapy treatment was over. At first,
she said, she was discreet about her marijuana use but then "came out of
the closet," telling prosecutors they should charge her with possession
and use of the drug. She said they declined.
"I believe you
may be getting a distorted picture of who the users are. They are
your neighbors and they may be some of you," Linet told
She said users are "little old ladies" who
smoke in the afternoons and evenings, artists, musicians and "religious
people who see God" when they smoke.
"Most important, they
are citizens in your community," she said.
She said many
users are professionals, "solid citizens" who do not testify publicly
about their marijuana use "for fear of reprisals."
the county's "scarce resources" should be directed toward the combat of "
'ice' ( crystal methamphetamine ) and crack."
testimonials also included such regulars as marijuana advocate and
perennial political candidate Aaron Anderson and Roger Christie, founder
of Hawaii Cannabis Ministry, which claims 18,000 members.
Christie called for a moratorium on the marijuana eradication
program and suggested a lawsuit against councilmembers if they did not
call for one by the onset of the new year.
Christie also asked for
a resolution demanding police on their missions fly over areas where less
than 25 plants are growing. He reasoned that having between one and
25 plants is a misdemeanor violation.
Anderson told of
requests for a "mandatory program review that our ( County ) Charter
promises us, guarantees us" which councilmembers have "waffled on" for
years. He also suggested a lawsuit, specifically to impeach
councilmembers and possibly the mayor and the prosecutor, if the council
does not initiate the program review.
Chairman Aaron Chung again suggested a workshop allowing residents to
discuss with police how the marijuana eradication program affects their
He said he wanted to wait to arrange the workshop until
after a new police chief was selected.
Police Chief Lawrence
Mahuna did not attend Tuesday's meeting because he was attending his
formal swearing-in ceremony at the Hilo police
Marijuana Eradication = Meth