Hawai’i state senator Rosalyn “Roz” Baker struck a mighty blow for the Female Empire last week. Local representatives of the Temperance Movement oppose cannabis reform. Ms. Baker introduced SB64, which stands for Scott’s Bill 64. Scott’s Bill prohibits an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or term or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a Medical Cannabis patient. Men are more likely than women to be enrolled in the state’s program.
Senator Baker’s proposal is only a half-step forward. Unfortunately, Scott’s Bill exempts many occupations and codifies discrimination arbitrarily. Side effects of the measure lead to increased opioid use or “unauthorized cannabis use,” as patients are fearful of registering for the DOH “329” medical cannabis program. Opioids have killed about 500,000 Americans to date, and men are more likely than females to die from opioid overdose.
Never had a piece of legislation written with me in mind. Quite an honor from Senator Baker. As a public health professional, teamed up with the DOH to pass ordinances that removed tobacco products from checkout stands that enticed children and youngsters; joined the national effort to provide research and oppose deceptive marketing of Big Tobacco with the Master Settlement Agreement of 1998; successfully passed clean indoor air ordinances to end smoking in restaurants and public places. Even rallied dog owners to convince the mayor and local council to create the first dog park in our community. Now a bill for me. Cheehoo!
Nevada AB 132 prohibits most employers from denying applicants a job if cannabis shows up on a pre-employment drug test. This bill addresses a big concern — cannabis use can be detected for weeks after ingestion, meaning drug screens in no way correlate with impairment.
I oppose the senator’s legislation, as I had recommended Nevada’s language in AB 132 to her about a year ago. Locals refer to Las Vegas as the “Ninth island” due to similarities in our hotel/resort-dominated economies and high number of Hawaiians who live there.
A medical cannabis patient should not have to choose between living and making a living.
Senator Baker’s proposal prevents workers like me from using medical cannabis. My close friend, Wha K, currently suffers breast cancer and is undergoing her third series of chemotherapy. Under Nevada law, Wha would be able to use medical cannabis in the privacy of her home when not working. Scott’s Bill would cost Wha her employment, maybe her healthcare insurance, or possibly force her to choose an opioid for her pain. A medical cannabis patient should not have to choose between living and making a living.
Nevertheless, I made a $100 contribution to Senator Baker’s political fund. I’ve been a real pain-in-the-ass over the last two years. Don’t apologize for caring about others — particularly my brothers suffering in pain. Have strongly criticized members of the Female Empire, such as: Hawaii’s female attorney general, Clare Conners, as well as Honolulu’s Chief of Police, Susan Ballard, for their non-scientific opposition to cannabis reform. Wrote to the powerful senator: “I understand. I accept my punishment.” The female empire got their revenge!
Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis Patients
My life and our family dreams were shattered due to failed government and corporate policy. Hawaiian Electric hired me as an IT consultant in August 2018. Was badly injured and suffering severe chronic pain (below). For demonstrating outstanding performance to patch security issues and migrate systems for HECO, MECO and HELCO networks, the company offered me a permanent position six months later.
As an IT professional, I’m classified as a “non-safety sensitive employee.” Don’t drive a vehicle, operate heavy machinery, work with dangerous chemicals or interact with the public directly. In addition, my prescription calls for use at night before bed — never prior to or during work hours.
Since I’m a medical cannabis patient suffering a number of injuries, checked Hawaiian Electric Code of Conduct. Appeared to be in compliance. To be sure, asked my HR rep, Liz Deer, February 14th. Said I would be fine. Nobody at the company ever informed me that medical cannabis wasn’t permitted. There’s nothing in writing at all.
HR confirmed my hire February 20th and announced my official start date, February 25th. Came to work early around 7:15am filled with aloha, happiness and joy. At 11:00am, HR director Shana Buco called and fired me. The Female Empire required me to exit the building immediately, as I presented a “danger to coworkers, the company and general public.”
Shana had never met me in person. The hundred or so colleagues who worked with me closely for half a year didn’t share her opinion. My first formal evaluation below:
My direct supervisor, Lori Yafuso, is the most competent manager I’ve had in 30 years. Director Rich Eber is proactive, insightful and a strong leader. The team is succeeding, not faltering, as we’ve witnessed in Texas, California, New York, Puerto Rico and other communities.
Hi Scott, I personally never saw any evidence of you being impaired. Quite the contrary in fact. I would say sharp, expedient, professional, technical, humble, the whole package really. But I did notice you had a limp, so I suspected you were in pain, but you never mentioned anything, and I never bothered to ask, our conversations were always about getting things done, and you delivered in times when we had to deliver and get things done.
Marijuana is a complex issue, often misunderstood, has been known to relieve pain, and when used correctly does not impair.
My close associates are Best & Brightest in America, including Greg Sasaki, Liz Oei, Tom Nii, Sean Nakasone, Linda Fung, Mark Sora, Yingwei Kaplan, Vicki Goto, Paul Fernandez, Sid Sakamoto, Renna Tyler, Chuck Atoa, Robin Fujimura, Tim Hong, Sabria Wu, Todd Lee, Lance Ichishita, Pei-Fang Nakayama, Brandon Waddell, Emily Nuneza, Victor Poppinga, Danny Mun, Bryce Tobara and many, many more. They also have big hearts. Emphasis was more than simply being proficient technically.
“Have a big heart. Really be thoughtful and willing to help those in need. Maybe a little thing you do will make a big difference. Even if you don’t think you have anything to offer others, anyone can give encouragement. You may just brighten someone’s day.”
Ningjin Miao, manager of Financial Reporting and Compliance, Hawaiian Electric
We spent millions in training for this mission, which we needed to complete by July. Removing me as did corporate Female Empire (below) put the entire state’s energy grid at risk when nations like North Korea and Russia are making 1,000s of hacking attempts per day.
Down on my knees, groveling on the ground, I begged, pleaded, cried and petitioned HEI CEO Constance Hee Lau for opportunity to discuss. She’s ignored me for two years. Connie’s the most powerful, and at about $5 million per year, also the highest paid executive in Hawai’i. She’s the Female Empire Queen. Many consider her remarkable. Connie Lau and Roz Baker are BFFs. Girls take care of girls in Hawaii’s Female Empire. Senator Baker exempted her girlfriend’s company from discriminatory protections in Scott’s Bill.
Anti-Discrimination Protections would not apply to:
(9) Employees who operate or are in physical control of any of the following:
(D) Public utilities, such as the electrical power grid or water source.
SB 64, i.e., “Scott’s Bill”
Nevada’s law protects a non-safety sensitive IT employee like me from discrimination and I would have kept my job. Scott’s Bill doesn’t apply to Connie Lau’s Hawaiian Electric companies and allows the Female Empire to block me and those like me, particularly men, from working for the company. This is how policy is made in America. People with privilege and power get “special treatment” in our democratic Republic. Justice trickles very slowly to ordinary folks, if at all.
Privileged Women Discriminate Against Men
Sought help from my U.S. Congresswomen, Tulsi Gabbard. She’s also close associates with Connie Lau and Roz Baker in the Female Empire. Ladies stand united. Although Tulsi calls for national reform on cannabis policy, she’s silent here in Hawai’i as she contemplates running for governor in 2022.
UPDATE: At the joint LCA/HTH committee hearing February 17, 2021, Liann Ebesugawa, Hawai’i Civil Rights Commission chair, testified in support of Scott’s Bill 64. Liann works for Connie Lau and Connie Lau opposes medical cannabis. The state’s most powerful CEO provides no scientific or evidenced-based rational for discriminating against ALL employees in Hawaiian Electric Industries, HECO, MECO and HELCO for using medical cannabis in the privacy of their home.
The Female Empire in Hawai’i provides legislative and bureaucratic assistance to continue this targeted discrimination that harshly effects men without any medical justification and pushes employees into more dangerous alternatives.
Liann Ebesugawa is chairperson of the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and has served in that capacity since 2019. She has served on the Commission since 2017 and was recently confirmed for a second term through 2023. She is Assistant General Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary for Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc.
Of note, Rep. Sharon Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo) was arrested at 10:20pm this week and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant. Police observed the 52-year-old female legislator driving the wrong direction on a one-way street prior to arrest. Could have killed many. CEO Connie Lau allows employees to consume alcohol and use opioid medications. She fires workers and denies employment to those who use medical cannabis.
“On Feb. 22, 2021, after a late evening at work, I had a beer with my dinner. This, in conjunction with my medication, contributed to my impaired driving.”
Rep. Sharon Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo)
As an honorary member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Representative Har is an expert on alcohol and medication interaction. She introduced an ignition interlock law after becoming the victim of a drunk driver in 2007. Although her pharmacist and doctors warned her about drug-to-drug interaction effects, Representative Har consumed alcohol along with her prescribed cough medication that contains codeine, which is an opioid.
Drug-to-drug interactions occur when two or more drugs react with each other. This drug-to-drug interaction may cause you to experience an unexpected side effect. For example, mixing a drug you take to help you sleep (a sedative) and a drug you take for allergies (an antihistamine) can slow your reactions and make driving a car or operating machinery dangerous.
U.S. FDA [source]
Representative Sharon Har added, “Above all, I am grateful that no one was hurt.” I was hurt. I avoid dangerous drugs like alcohol and opioids. Connie Lau fired me!
Medical Cannabis discrinination is a men’s public health issue: (A) More males are enrolled in the state’s “329” medical cannabis program; (B) More males die of opioid overdose. Cannabis prohibition has harmed males, particularly those of color, more than women for over a half century. As I documented in the late 1990s:
More than 62.5% of inmates in the Federal prison system in 1997 were sentenced for drug offenses, up from 53% in 1990. High rate of incarceration is spread disproportionately among different ethnic groups. In 1996, the rates were:
- 3,098 per 100,000 for African American males
- 1,278 per 100,000 for Hispanic males
- 370 per 100,000 for White males
A. Of 31, 077 DOH medical cannabis patients in Hawai’i, more males (59.2%) are enrolled than females (40.1%), although about equal in average age. Of 381 out-of-state patients, males (63.8%) are more likely to be enrolled than females (36.2%). Males are slightly older than females.
Severe pain and PTSD are the leading indications for Hawai’i medical cannabis patients enrolled in the program. Recent research (Oct 2019) documents efficacy of cannabis: Whole cannabis flower was associated with greater pain relief than were other types of products, and higher tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest predictors of analgesia and side effects prevalence across the five pain categories.
Cannabis Discrimination in Perspective
Imagine Hawaiian Electric or any company today announcing a policy, “This employer does not hire workers who are Black or African American.” Prior to the 1960s in America, this might happen. Or “This employer does not hire workers who are female.” SCOTUS Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg battled such discrimination over the course of her career. Or “This employer does not hire workers who are homosexual.” It was 2015 when SCOTUS struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalizing protections in all fifty states.
At this time, in the year 2021, it remains common for employers to discriminate against a person in hiring, termination, or term or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis patient, although they are permitted to use a dangerous, addictive opioid.
Senator Roz Baker and CEO Connie Lau are about 70 years of age. They’re old — not physically. Both are dynamic, bright and energetic. Their thinking is old and out-dated. America taught them falsely that cannabis was dangerous. This negative perception was not driven by science, rather bigotry, fear-mongering and racist motivations.
Keep in mind in 2015, the Hawai’i legislature amended “329” statutes after being the first state body to legalize medical cannabis in 2000:
HI Rev Stat § 329-125.5, (b) For the purposes of medical care, including organ transplants, a registered qualifying patient’s use of marijuana in compliance with this part shall be considered the equivalent of the use of any other medication under the direction of a physician and shall not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a registered qualifying patient from medical care. [emphasis mine]
When dealing with scientists, medical experts, doctors, nurses, specialists, technicians and healthcare professionals, cannabis is EQUIVALENT to any other prescribed medication.
When interacting with NON-scientists, NON-medical experts or NON-healthcare professionals, medical cannabis patients are considered second-class citizens or those “with a vice” and disparaged, shamed, disrespected, belittled, punished — and fired.
U.S. federal policy has a tragic history. In 1787, the federal government codified slavery and ruled a Black American was valued 3/5th of one who was White. Britain, France and Hawai’i Kingdom ended slavery before the U.S., and America needed a tragic war to end the practice. It took the federal government until 1920 to allow women the right to vote. It was 1964/1968 before Civil Rights for people of color were protected by the federal government. And, as discussed, it was 2015 when the LGBTQ community received guarantees held by other Americans.
It was a year ago when the CDC, Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Dr. Fauci told us NOT to wear face masks. The entire U.S. and various state public health agencies were 100% in agreement we should NOT wear face masks. And, like medical cannabis, they were all wrong … DEAD WRONG … over 500,000+ Americans have died in the pandemic. Likewise, the U.S. government and FDA said opioids medications were safe to prescribe. Some 500,000 Americans have died. Cannabis doesn’t kill.
From our blog dated March 19, 2020, SEE: America’s Political Reps are KILLING Us
Federal policy on cannabis is broken. The DEA continues the Schedule I designation for cannabis: no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. There are now about 36 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands that have challenged the spurious DEA claim that cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use.” The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recognized medical cannabis December 2018. More than 50 countries have adopted medical cannabis programs, including Israel, Canada and Mexico.
About 85% of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis. Hawaiian Electric CEO & President Connie Lau is out of tough with America.
Although the DEA continues their unscientific scheduling, the United States and member European nations participating in the Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted (December 2020) to declassify medical cannabis from the category of world’s most dangerous drugs, i.e., Schedule I type designations, per World Health Organization recommendation. The U.S. has one policy for Americans; another for the world.
The Obama administration did not make prosecuting medical cannabis even a minor priority. This is one area President Donald Trump agreed with Obama and did not interfere with those who use medical cannabis. About 85% of Americans support legalizing medical cannabis, and it’s estimated at least several million Americans currently use it.
I have screamed and shouted hoping no others will suffer as has our family. My wish now is I am the LAST PERSON cruelly punished this way. Although “Scott’s Bill 64” doesn’t help patients like me, it does end discrimination for others. Applauded the distinguished senator from Maui from that perspective, “Thank you for helping the 31,000+. You’re doing a good thing here.”
Please, distinguished, compassionate and kind members of the Female Empire, why not end medical cannabis discrimination for all non-safety sensitive employees? ENOUGH is ENOUGH.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”