QMark research on marijuana shows significant change from 2005 poll

New poll shows most favor island dispensary

Published  6:19 PM HST Jan 10, 2013
Marijuana
HONOLULU -

"You can use it in oils, butters, cakes, anything you can cook with. It's a $1.7 billion industry," explained a guest on "The Ricki Lake Show," during an episode on medical marijuana on Thursday.

"This product is basically an E-Cig for cannabis oil," she said, holding up slick looking cigarette-sized black tube.

At almost the same time, the results of a Hawaii poll were released on Thursday showing growing support in the islands for medical marijuana use and more.

"It's actually higher than in other states," said Pamela Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group.

QMark Research just released a two week survey done in late November of 603 registered voters in Hawaii and found:

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"One of the reasons state lawmakers are looking at this issue is because they are all grappling with tight budgets and deficits," said Lichty.

Hawaii legalized medicinal marijuana use 12 years ago.

By the end of 2012, more than 11,000 Hawaii residents were registered to use medical marijuana legally.

But according to the law, and since there is no dispensary in Hawaii, those patients are required to grow their own, forcing them to walk a tightrope between what's legal and what's not.

"A lot of patients are forced to basically break the law for something that they legally have the right to use," said Charlie Cook, a patient advocate with the Drug Policy Action Group.

Several bills will be introduced in the 2013 legislative session, covering everything from decriminalization, to legalization, to clarifying Hawaii's current medical marijuana laws.

"It is still complicated and we are attempting to improve the law this session," said Sen. Will Espero.  He's planning to introduce three bills clarifying how those supplies are defined, transported and managed.

He said in the 2012 session, senate lawmakers passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana, making it a violation, not a criminal act, to possess small amounts of the substance, but the bill died in the House.

He also believes the management of Hawaii's medical marijuana industry should be handled by the Department of Health not the Department of Public Safety, as it stands now.

"Eighteen states now have medical marijuana laws, and D.C., right in Washington's backyard, 14 have decriminalization laws, and now two have legalization. So, it's a growing trend," said Lichty.

The Honolulu Police Department is opposed to the legalization, decriminalization, and medicinal use of marijuana, for reasons including the potential for addiction, a lack of treatment programs and the increase in crimes surrounding dispensaries.

HPD also told KITV the concentration of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, has increased significantly in recent years, and they have no control over its potency and dosage.

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