Gov. David Ige is displaying discriminatory practices by including House Bill 290 on the possible veto list.
This measure authorizes qualified patients or out-of-state patients to transport medical cannabis between islands for their personal medical use.
Yet the governor has signaled that it will be vetoed. With the stroke of a pen he will violate his oath of office, as well as the U.S. Civil Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Since airplanes are the major means of transportation between the Hawaiian Islands, denying state-certified medical cannabis patients the use of public accommodations to transport their legally acquired medical cannabis to their home and work is state-sponsored discrimination.
There are only eight dispensaries in the state of Hawaii. Not every island has a dispensary. Yet the state Health Department issues medical cannabis cards to authorized medical patients regardless of where in Hawaii they live. Vetoing HB 290 places an undue burden on medical cannabis patients.
The most popular recreational nervous system depressant is alcohol, which affects the brain stem. Alcohol is associated with aggressive acts of violence like assault and rape. Oxycodone is considered a schedule II drug with high potential for abuse dependence and death.
Medical cannabis does not come anywhere close to causing those problems. And yet, anyone can transport packaged whiskey, wine and oxycodone on airplanes between the islands.
What is it going to take for the governor to recognize that medical cannabis use in Hawaii does not violate federal law?
Apparently, the attorney general of Hawaii, who has the rule-making power, has not read all the medical cannabis acts and rules passed over the past 19 years since Gov. Ben Cayateno signed the act that made medical cannabis legal in Hawaii.
For one, the state of Hawaii’s Legislature passed a bill changing the name from marijuana to cannabis, because marijuana is derogatory — becoming the first state in the nation to take such a stand. The offices of the governor and attorney general have not gotten the message, or simply do not care.
The position taken by the attorney general on behalf of Gov. Ige ignores the authority that is reserved to the states to determine the medical use of controlled substances under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Oregon (2006).
Schedule I Not An Issue
The state of Hawaii has determined that cannabis has accepted medical use. Since 2000 cannabis is accepted medical use for treatment in the state of Hawaii, which means that the federal regulation that lists cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance does not apply to the medical use of cannabis in Hawaii.
Since the rationale for vetoing HB 290 declares that medical cannabis in Hawaii violates federal law, people with disabilities are not allowed protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act. That is also state-sponsored discrimination.
However, because of differences in the interpretation of this provision, and because the local law enforcement agencies that serve our state airports are improperly imposing federal restrictions upon patients traveling interisland, specific authorization for the interisland transportation of cannabis by registered patients for personal medical use is desperately needed.