Samantha Cole, Vice, wrote an informative article about cannabis on the national celebration of cannabis reform: 4.20.  Thanked her for her work, and copied a few political players in Hawai’i, as cannabis reform frightens so many in our state.
“The highway patrol believes all of the marijuana was in the pickup truck, which was occupied by two men and a woman from Mexico … The men were arrested and charged with drug trafficking. All three suffered moderate injuries.”
“Cannabis is illegal for recreational purposes in Missouri …. It is, however, legal for medical purposes, and dispensaries in Missouri generated nearly $30 million in state tax revenue in 2020, while 10,650 Missourians were arrested on possession charges … Black people are 2.6 times more likely than White people in the state to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of consumption to the rest of the country.”
As most of my followers know, I’m a social scientist, as well as a medical cannabis patient. I’m a former pro athlete with some military experience. Now at 64, my body is a busted mess. Many difficult surgeries and struggle to walk. I had a choice between opioids and cannabis.
In addition, as a PhD candidate at the University of New Mexico in the mid-1990s, authored a number of research studies on the state prison population. The discrepancy in arrest and incarceration rates between Black, Brown and White individuals, particularly males, was insidious.
Forward-looking Republican Gov Gary Johnson called to legalize in 2000. He was the first governor in the nation. As a Democratic strategist, I partnered with him. People ridiculed us!
This past year, Democratic Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham convinced New Mexico to legalize. State began sales first weekend of April, collected more than $5M in revenue, and expects over $300M in sales this year.
New Mexico cannabis sales totaled $5.2 million over the first weekend of adult-use sales, the Cannabis Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department reported Monday. Friday, the first day of adult-use sales, was nearly double Colorado’s first day of adult-use sales.Press Release [source]
Police are relieved of the burden of enforcing. Saves departments money. Saves court and corrections resources. New Mexico will focus on more serious violent crime and issues.
Recently I assisted a local Republican candidate running for governor in Hawai’i. Lynn Barry Marino is a decent man. His platform included cannabis legalization. As such, I volunteered.
Working with campaign manager, Pete Tingstrom, we designed a 4.20 event for Lynn. He did an excellent job reaching out. In fact, he sincerely touched a young couple visiting from Nebraska.
Lynn showed his strength — he’s a “real” human being. Mariah and Jesus were intensely engaged. Huge success for Lynn. What a beautiful example of American democracy in action.
Lynn connected across generations. Mariah is a college senior in political science; Jesus is starting his own business as a budding entrepreneur. Dynamic! Truly heart-warming.
Lynn was the only candidate in Hawai’i to speak out for cannabis reform. Within hours, apparently he was attacked and shamed by extremists in our state — in particular from SHOPO, our local police union.
Has nothing to do with science or wise public policy … police budgets are padded with Pot Pork — or Pakalolo Pork as we say in the islands. Due to the small and extreme outcry, he ended his support. I ended support of his campaign.
Extremism is destroying America. Jonathan Haidt writes in The Atlantic:
It’s been clear for quite a while now that red America and blue America are becoming like two different countries claiming the same territory, with two different versions of the Constitution, economics, and American history.
Haidt points out that social scientists have identified at least three major forces that collectively bind together successful democracies: social capital (extensive social networks with high levels of trust), strong institutions, and shared stories. Social media has weakened all three. Extremists use social media to shame and squash the silent majority. 
Although a strong majority of residents in Hawai’i support cannabis reform, older people are less enthused. Many are “Just Say No” Reaganites.
In addition, our elderly Asian population is socially conservative and quite opposed to cannabis. They drink barrels of alcohol, heavily smoke tobacco and vape nicotine. Even tolerate deadly, addictive opioid prescription and other drugs.
Hawai’i governor, 65-year-old Dave Ige, Japanese heritage from Okinawa, refused to sign the 2019 cannabis decriminalization bill. He’s a hardliner who prefers cannabis users in prison, while smoking a cigar and having an alcoholic beverage. Unconscionable in the 21st century!
Cannabis? It’s a drug used by Black folks, in their perception. Asians have nasty negative and racist perceptions of Black people in Hawai’i. Black friends tell me their attitudes scare them.
I am deeply ingrained in the Asian community: extremely kind, compassionate and smart, talented people. With African Americans though, they hold more insidious attitudes than KKK-types in the deep south … I know. Was born in Mississippi.
Let me share with you. When I was born, my father had retired from military service and accepted a college scholarship to play basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi. Black athletes could NOT be on scholarship or play on the team.
Can you imagine? This occurred in my lifetime!
As Samantha Cole pointed out in her article, “Black people are 2.6 times more likely than White people in the state to be arrested for marijuana possession, despite similar rates of consumption to the rest of the country.”
More importantly, the cannabis flower she mentions in her article came from Mexico. Tends to come north to the intersection of I-40 & I-25 in Albuquerque. New Mexico has huge trafficking challenges.
There are similar challenges in Hawai’i. Thousands of ships come in … many illegal activities enter our tiny islands. Government is ineffective reducing the flow.
Illicit cannabis supports more dangerous smuggling, such as fentanyl, meth, weapons, terrorists and human sex trafficking. By weight, cannabis brings in massive sums of money. Other products less so.
Thus illicit cannabis profits helps support more egregious and violent activities. By legalizing, we “take a bite out of crime.”
Really appreciate the efforts by Samantha Cole to increase awareness on this issue. I told her if I could assist to please call on me. I did leave her with a request, if she will consider.
I asked that she use the term “cannabis” rather than marihuana. There actually is no such word. Harry Anslinger, around 1937, federal Director of Narcotics, coined the label to stigmatize cannabis and demonize people entering the USA from Mexico. Mexicans actually refer to cannabis as “mota.”
What Americans do not realize is U.S. producers, Eli Lilly & Co and Parke-Davis & Co, created Cannabis Americana in the late 1890s. Mexico did not. External cannabis came from India … Cannabis Indica. Mexico prohibited use before the U.S. We are educating to end racist terminology and policy.
I personally thanked Ms. Cole again for here excellent article.
Happy 4.20 to all from Hawai’i 🌈🌺🐢
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