Honolulu police weigh in on bills going through legislature

HPD is for clarification on gambling; against decriminalizing marijuana

Published  4:46 PM HST Mar 07, 2013
Police

Danger greets our police officers everyday -- from the side of the road to the canine cops.

Now, the Honolulu Police Department wants some help.

On Thursday, they lobbied state lawmakers for several bills that will be decided soon.

One clarifies just what constitutes a gambling device.  Police like that.

"The clarification will help others from falling prey to promoters of these machines," said Lt. Jonathan Grems.

Officers recently raided several arcades, seizing machines and making arrests.

Arcade owners are fighting to get the machines back saying it's just a sweepstakes and it's perfectly legal.

"It's very clear to us you're putting money in the machine for a chance to win additional money or you lose your money.  That's gambling," said Lt. Grems.

One bill officers want to see fail would decriminalize marijuana.  They say it's almost unenforceable.

"People who would be in possession of marijuana wouldn't be required to have a license like drivers would be so issuing a citation would be difficult, if not, impossible," said Maj. Jerry Inouye.

Expanding the medical marijuana program in Hawaii is also a no-go for the police.

"It exponentially increases the amount of marijuana available and that's almost undoubtedly going to increase the possibility that kids or people who shouldn't have the marijuana will get diverted to them," said Maj. Inouye.

The bills have so far survived the legislative crossover deadline.  Police hope their strong showing on Thursday will sway some votes in their direction.

Do you want to print this page now?