Fast-tracked

http://sr.photos3.fotosearch.com/bthumb/CSP/CSP991/k11912957.jpgIn an effort to curb dissenting public testimony, House leaders have begun fast-tracking marijuana legislation in hopes that opposition groups will not have time to organize. Last Friday, House Majority Leader Scott Saiki reduced the number of public hearings that HB321 (relating to medical marijuana) would receive by re-referring the bill.

The latest move flies in the face of Saiki’s promise to make government more accessible and transparent. Instead of improving access, Saiki has regressed to the politics of deceit and subterfuge that colored his first two years as majority leader.  The re-referral now places the bill before a joint committee hearing where the House Judiciary committee will defer to the judgment of the Health Committee. [1]

This re-referral comes on the heels of a one-two punch where legislative leaders seek to expand the definition of marijuana to include many concentrated and dangerous derivatives of the narcotic. Under the guise of ‘medical marijuana’, these highly-concentrated derivatives would be legal for recreational use should the Legislature also pass legislation to decriminalize or legalize marijuana.

At the end of last Friday’s hearing, House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads alluded to a special Saturday hearing to be held regarding selected bills regarding marijuana. It is a rare instance when a House committee opts to hold a hearing on a Saturday that most working individuals can attend. These Saturday hearings are few and far between, and are only held as part of a dog-and-pony show to pander to a political base. [2]  While he works closely with supporters to schedule a hearing where marijuana supporters can turn out en masse, concerned parents are left in the dark.

Despite how these parents feel about marijuana and medical marijuana, and all evidence to the contrary, the Legislature continues to dismiss their concerns.  Legal dispensaries already exist for the top three most abused substances by minors [3].  Creating dispensaries for marijuana will ensure that the drug goes to the top of that list. In fact, medical marijuana supporters like the Drug Policy Center of Hawaii admit that, for the same reasons as marijuana, crystal methamphetamine (‘ice’) should be legalized. [4]  Because medical marijuana supporters are indistinguishable from recreational marijuana advocates, it can I easily be assumed that the issue at hand is not the health and well-being of patients, but only increased access to the narcotic.

Yes, liberal Democrats have taken a page from big tobacco companies.  But will they pay a multi-billion dollar settlement for the social ills created by their deception?

Signs point to ‘no’.

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[1] – The recommendation of the lead committee (Health, in this case) is traditionally adopted by other committees (Judiciary) that participate in a joint hearing.  Those that follow the Legislature will note the lead committee’s recommendation is always (with only one or two known exceptions) adopted. As such, the judicial effects of state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries will not be addressed, much like public concerns regarding public safety.

[2] – By contrast, legislators do not hold weekend hearings when they expect to face significant opposition. Being absconded for hours on the 6 o’clock news makes for bad public relations. In the instance of significant opposition, the hearing will be scheduled with little notice at a highly inconvenient time.

[3]– State-approved dispensaries exist for cigarettes, alcohol and prescription pain-killers.  All were tasked with controlling the use of these substances and to prevent their use and abuse by minors. If these dispensaries have failed (especially with the security and protection that is built into a pharmacy), there is no reason to expect the effects of medical marijuana dispensaries to be any different.

[4] – Many of these same supporters also believe that inmates should be allowed to use marijuana too.

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2 thoughts on “Fast-tracked

  1. […] Legislators broke the very rules they wrote to govern themselves to advance a dispensary bill by eliminating public hearings, bypassing key committees on public safety, removing the only medical expert (Josh Green) from […]

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