Hawaii’s Hemp Highway

Expect some pushback (March 20, 2018)

Rep. Cynthia Thielen is wrong about one thing: This is not a no-brainer, it is a bad idea without other policy changes (“Hawaii’s Highway To Hemp Paved With Potholes”).

Male hemp pollen wafting in the island breezes will fertilize outdoor grows of female medical cannabis plants and ruin such legal plots all over central and south Maui. The island should find some other crop for the cane lands, or fully legalize cannabis sales.

L-R, Rep Chris Lee, Rep Marcus Oshiro, Rep Lynn DeCoite, Rep Cynthia Thielen and Right, Sen Mike Gabbard pose while holding an Industrial Hemp plant at the University of Hawaii, Waimanalo Research Station. 23 july 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Rep. Cynthia Thielen, fourth from left, and other lawmakers at an industrial hemp plant at the University of Hawaii’s Waimanalo Research Station, July 2015. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

A large market of legalized pot with many stores selling multiple varieties, such as in Washington, Oregon, California and Nevada, will allow large scale indoor gardens, cheap, safe, tested, labeled pot of all kinds, and home grown out-door pot will no longer be necessary.

Until that happens, expect hard pushback from the medical marijuana community.

— Michael Williams, Kula

Medical Aid In Dying

Safeguards are essential (March 20, 2018)

From the perspective of an international student who is fortunate enough to encounter different cultures, I strongly believe that assisted dying should be legalized for the two following reasons (“Hawaii Medical Aid In Dying Bill Passes Key Senate Panel”).

First and foremost, it is important to distinguish between assisted suicide and euthanasia.

The act of deliberately encouraging someone to terminate their life by means of medication could be regarded as either manslaughter or murder. However, when an individual actively asks for permission to receive an overdose of muscle relaxants to end their life with full consent, it should not be a crime. Indeed, the death of Linkin Park’s lead singer, Chester Bennington, still remains a huge loss to his family, friends and fans.

However, the event would not have come as a shock if dying in dignity had been an available option for the deceased singer. Furthermore, euthanasia for animals could give us lessons in terms of assisted suicide. It is clearly seen that the case is partially different for human beings but this explains why safeguards are essential. Following the emotional hearing on Feb. 27, undergoing counseling is an outstanding requirement that could possibly push the bill forward because this condition enables doctors, psychologists, and psychiatrists to evaluate in depth people who opt for medical aid.

In conclusion, the amendment of House Bill 2739 has been controversial topic, but I believe it is necessary for the Hawaii Legislature to keep up with rapid changes in contemporary society. 

— Nam Phuong Nguyen, Kaneohe

Charles Djou Leaves GOP

He sounds like a Republican (March 21, 2018)

I’ve only heard Charles Djou speak one time in a debate for the mayoral seat in the last election. He sure sounded like a Republican to me. It’s hard to imagine how his biases will change through a change in party. He seemed very dogmatic (“Charles Djou: Why I’m Leaving The GOP”).

I am of the opinion that he would not have made this announcement unless he was going to run for office in 2018, and further that the motivation behind this move is that it may allow him the opportunity to surf the anti-Trump wave in the 2018 election.

I would have to hear completely different rhetoric from him to believe that he is anything but a republican, and would encourage everyone to listen to what each candidate is saying and vote for the person that best represents their own views — not the party; especially in the primary.

Djou may have changed his stripe, but may not have changed his positions and partisanship.

— Anni C. Peterson, Honolulu

HART’s Rail ‘Placeholders’

Let’s stop at Middle Street (March 19, 2018)

Far better to lose the $944 million in federal money than to pour more money into completing rail to Ala Moana (“Airlines Pushing To Take Over Honolulu Airport Operations”).

Do we have enough money to go to Middle Street?  

Stopping at Middle Street and using buses to take commuters to their destinations would keep us taxpayers from spending billions more to complete the town portion.  $9 billion is the conservative estimate. I’ve heard $14 billion.

Losing $944 million to save $5 billion is a bargain.

— Pearl Johnson, Kaneohe

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