Mail In and absentee voting began July 26th and ballots MUST be received by 7pm on Election Day, August 13, 2022. In-person voting is open Saturday, August 13 from 7am to 7pm. Please remember, that in the primary election you can only vote for candidates of your registered affiliate party. Only the Democrat and Republican parties have competitive primaries this year.
Crime is a major concern to residents living in the Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, McCully, Moili’ili, Sheridan and Waikiki districts.
Research looking at states that have legalized cannabis (marihuana) published in the Journal of Drug Issues reported “a substantial reduction in certain types of crimes, namely, property crime, larceny, and simple assault, in border counties in the Colorado region.” [source]
Research also confirmed drops in rape and property crime in Washington state compared to neighboring Oregon after Washington legalized cannabis for adults.
However, our current state senator Sharon Moriwaki (District 12) opposes cannabis legalization for recreational users. Sharon runs under the party label of Democrat, but she’s a DINO — Democrat-in-name-only.
Democrats (81%) strongly support cannabis legalization. Sharon is a social conservative. And she’s not tough on crime. [source]
Disturbingly, she lied to her supporters and the good people on O’ahu. She promised to represent her constituents and be the “voice for you.”
Four years ago, I ran for the State Senate on a promise to be “a voice for you” and was honored to have been elected to represent our community in the legislature. We have been working for you ever since — promoting safe and peaceful neighborhoods, building affordable housing, caring for our keiki and kupuna, and preserving our environment and our island way of life. I hope to continue serving you as we care for each other.Sharon Moriwaki, Hawai’i state senator
Hawai’i Voters Support Legalizing Recreational Cannabis
Although Sharon promised to be a voice for us, she is dictating to us. She’s not listening to our voices; she’s not representing our preferences. She’s ignoring The People.
Sharon voted NO on Senate Bill 767 in 2021 that would have paved the way to recreational cannabis legislation. Her vote and position run counter to the will of The People.
Opponents of cannabis legalization are a small minority today. Polling research shows 70% of registered voters in Hawai’i support cannabis reform. [source]
America’s History of Recreational Substance Use Prohibition
Beginning in 1920, the United States experimented with the prohibition of alcohol. Alcohol is deadly. Research suggests there is “no safe” amount of alcohol for people under 40; and limited benefits for those who are older.
Alcohol feeds domestic violence, driving accidents and death, and contributes to numerous negative outcomes in society. However, the prohibition of alcohol increased violence and crime in our communities. The nation ended the prohibition experiment in 1933. Our grandparents suffered 13 years of disastrous policy.
President Richard Nixon criminalized cannabis in 1970 against the advice of his top advisors on the Shafer commission. Cannabis use did not drop; crime increased and there is more cannabis in America at higher potency than ever in history. Prohibition is feeding criminal operations and drug cartels.
Support for Cannabis Legalization Does Not Imply Support for Use
I have worked on the legalization issue since 2000. Can’t count the number of legislators, elected officials, business executives and law enforcement professionals who told me over the years they support legalization — but not the use of the recreational substance.
This position is reasonable. Although alcohol is legal, I do not consume alcohol. Personally and professionally, I believe alcohol is extremely dangerous and a negative factor in society. However, I would never call for a return to prohibition. Policy professionals like me seek responsible use.
I also speak with many older people, particularly Asian American women like Sharon, who tell me they do not want their keiki or grandchildren using drugs. None of us do. They fear legalization will increase availability. Sisters, cannabis is available in every school across our nation. Has been for decades.
They also worry that their support for cannabis legalization sends the wrong message. Let’s be absolutely clear about the message. Research is crystal clear. Using drugs, legal or not, prescribed or not, can have dangerous and deadly consequences for our youngsters. Their brains and body are developing.
However, our youngsters pop more pills — without prescription — take more drugs and illicit substances, have access to more alcohol, tobacco products, nicotine vapes, and other chemicals than at any time in our nation’s history. The war on drugs has failed.
Why the failure? Our message has not been clear. As parents and adults, we frequently stand in front of our children with a cocktail in one hand, cigarette in another, and tell them to Just Say No!
TV commercials and programming overwhelm our youngsters with images of people having fun using drugs. We have normalized alcohol consumption. We tolerate cigarette smoking and glamorize cigar use.
And, unfortunately, it seems to our youngsters that all the “cool kids” vape nicotine and guzzle highly-caffeinated beverages. We are nation addicted to drugs and chemicals.
Criminals Sell to Anyone
Many of us remember how we accessed, or have friends who were able to obtain, alcohol or tobacco products as kids. Wasn’t difficult. Similarly, our keiki can access cannabis whenever they want today. Everyone seems to know someone who can provide the supply.
On the other hand, a regulated business owner has much to lose if an underage or restricted individual seeks to obtain an illicit product. The history of cannabis dispensaries in the islands documents management has and is behaving responsibly.
Society benefits from controlled access. Government benefits from the increased tax revenues. Labor benefits from increased jobs and industry innovation. Patients and consumers benefit as products are tested and quality-assured.
Looking at the southern border in mainland U.S., cannabis was one of the first products to be smuggled into the country. However, cannabis was bulky and skunk-smelly. Drug cartels found cocaine to be more efficient with higher profits margins.
Today, meth and fentanyl are leading illicit products, along with human smuggling for sex trades or drug dealing on our neighborhood and community streets.
Just announced research from the Journal of Clinical Toxicology on synthetic marijuana showed K2 and Spice are less used in states where cannabis has been legalized.
Of 7,600 calls to poison centers related to synthetic cannabinoid use during 2016-2019, about 65% of calls required medical attention and 61 people died. Over half of the calls (56%) occurred in states with restrictive cannabis policies, a third (38.6%) in states that allow medicinal use, and only 5.5% occurred in permissive states, where recreational use is legal.
Cannabis legalization removes the profit incentive for criminal enterprise and drug cartels. To take a bite out of crime and better protect our ‘ohana, legalize.
Strong Family Structure Prevents Illicit Substance Abuse
I was raised in a Mormon community. As humans are imperfect and make poor decisions at times, we were aware of and could access cannabis. We didn’t, as we didn’t want to disappoint our parents, teachers, church members or community leaders.
I’ve also been deeply integrated within the Asian American community. Similar to Mormons, these families work hard to keep their keiki on a positive, productive path forward.
Education — not incarceration — reduces illicit substance initiation. Having caring role models and opportunities for success counters destructive temptations.
Challenging our keiki to be the best they can be, engaging our youngsters in stimulating activities and providing them alternatives to negative behavior reduces incidence of alcohol, tobacco, nicotine, cannabis and other substance initiation and abuse.
We have failed to set appropriate expectations; we are failing to take common sense steps to provide a healthy and strong foundation for our keiki. Just Say No simply does not resonate with young people.
Leaders Adapt and Shift Position When Conditions Shift
Adults who are too stubborn to accept the research findings and continue on this failed policy path cannot be allowed to lead and represent our interests. Being a leader means remaining open to new ideas — particularly when past efforts have been ineffective.
Sharon Moriwaki claims she is a leader. She tells voters her life is characterized by seeing a need, identifying a solution, and following through on her promises.
Sharon continues to be deceptive and disingenuous with residents of Hawai’i. Canada has legalized; Mexico has legalized. The American people overwhelmingly demand legalization. Voters in Hawai’i, 70%, prefer legalization of recreational cannabis.
Sharon promised to represent “our voice.” She has not. She does not intend to be our voice. We have a need; we have identified a proven solution. Sharon appears to believe she is smarter, wiser and more capable than the rest of us. Her position is self-righteous and disrespects the intelligence of voters in Hawai’i.
We respectfully ask Sharon Moriwaki to humble herself, join with the majority of voters in District 12 and across Hawai’i, and support legalization of recreational cannabis.
The time for reform is now.
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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”