The Hawai’i state legislature was bold and progressive in 2000. First in the nation to legalize medical cannabis 21 years ago. California was first in 1996 due to a voter referendum and efforts of legendary Mary Jane “Brownie Mary” Rathbun (source). Hawai’i was a compassionate land of aloha in those days. Legislators have aged and their hearts have hardened.
Mary Jane Rathbun (December 22, 1922 – April 10, 1999), Brownie Mary, was an American medical cannabis rights activist. As a hospital volunteer at San Francisco General Hospital, she became known for baking and distributing cannabis brownies to AIDS patients. Along with activist Dennis Peron, Rathbun lobbied for the legalization of cannabis for medical use, and she helped pass San Francisco Proposition P (1991) and California Proposition 215 (1996) to achieve those goals. She also contributed to the establishment of the San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club, the first medical cannabis dispensary in the United States.
My story on this topic began February 25, 2019, when Hawaiian Electric CEO & President Constance Hee Lau and corporate management fired me for being a medical cannabis patient. Never medicated before or during work. I followed the law and used my medication legally in the privacy of my home.
I was always professionally prepared for work and fit for duty. That’s why my manager and team recommended me for promotion. Didn’t matter. To elderly senior executives, I am simply a drug addict, a criminal, a danger to society. They’ve been scared by government for too long. The Russian KGB found people never change.
In the 1950s, America discriminated against Black people; against women in the 60s; against those who contracted HIV/AIDS in the 80s; against those who were gay or lesbian in the 90s. Asian Americans are pleading with the nation to stop AAPI discrimination today. Never ending battle, it seems.
Nevertheless, America is a wonderful place. Truth and justice eventually prevail. With all our national faults, and there are many, our form of democratic Republic eventually gets the failures amended. Sadly, there are too many dead bodies and destroyed families along the way.
On the campaign trail, both Biden and Kamala promised to correct the injustice and heal the massive wound. Didn’t work out for a number of White House staffers who honestly admitted they had used cannabis in the past. Kamala did. She even boasted about it. She got a spot in the White House. Privilege of the powerful. Staffers lost their jobs. So much for the promises of politicians.
In 1970 President Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act. This classified cannabis (marijuana) as a Schedule I drug. This means no accepted medical use. Today, there are some 36 states, four U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and the nations of Canada, Mexico, Israel and others that recognize medical efficacies and defy federal law. This is reminiscent of 1860 when northern states broke with the U.S. Constitution and southern states. Laws aren’t always just or moral.
In December 2020, the U.S. signed a world agreement along with a majority of member nations that reschedules medical cannabis from the “most dangerous” drug classification. Only the U.S. DEA holds onto the outdated and unscientific position. Old dogs can’t learn new tricks.
Hawai‘i DOH Approves New Dispensary
The state Department of Health (DOH) issued a formal notice to proceed to retail to Aloha Green Holdings, Inc. dba Aloha Green Apothecary after they passed their final onsite inspection for their third retail facility. Aloha Green Apothecary’s new retail location is at 3131 North Nimitz Highway, Honolulu, HI 96819, and expects to begin sales on March 22, 2021. Aloha Green provided Waikiki’s first medical cannabis dispensary.
“Aloha Green Apothecary’s Nimitz Highway location is the state’s 17th licensed retail center and the seventh on Oahu,” said Michele Nakata, dispensary licensing section supervisor.
“The Nimitz dispensary has a separate pre-order and pick-up room that was constructed with minimal physical interaction in mind. The room will allow patients to conveniently pick-up their purchased pre-order without exposure to others.”
As of February 28, 2021, a statewide total of 31,853 patients, and 2,631 caregivers were registered statewide. The primary reported condition for registered adult patients is severe pain. The primary reported conditions for children under 18 years of age are seizures and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The other licensed retail centers operating in the state include:
Big Island Grown Dispensaries locations at:
750 Kanoelehua Ave., Suite 104, in Hilo
64-1040 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela
74-5617 Pawai Place, in Kailua-Kona
Hawaiian Ethos locations at:
73-5613 Olowalu St., Suite 7, in Kailua-Kona
64-1035 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela
578 Kanoelehua Ave., Hilo, 96720
Green Aloha at 4-1565 Kuhio Highway in Kapa‘a
Maui Grown Therapies locations at:
44 Pa‘a St. in Kahului
1087 Limahana Pl, Unit 4B in Lahaina
Pono Life Sciences Maui locations at:
Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC, at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului
Aloha Green Apothecary locations at:
1314 South King St. (Interstate Building) in Honolulu
2113 Kalakaua Ave., in Waikiki
NEW: 3131 North Nimitz Highway in Honolulu
Cure Oahu, located at 727 Kapahulu Ave. in Honolulu
Noa Botanicals locations at:
1308 Young St. in Honolulu
46-028 Kawa St. in Kaneohe
98-302 Kamehameha Hwy, Aiea, HI 96701
Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15-consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30-consecutive day period. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.
All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in any moving vehicle while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks.
Visit the DOH Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program for more information.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”