Pubdate: Tue, 26 Dec 2000
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2000 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 3110 Honolulu, HI 96802
Fax: (808) 525-8037
Author: Jeff Crawford, Ph.D


Revised Rules For Use Seem More Balanced

Since I strongly attacked the draft of rules for the medicinal use of
marijuana offered for public hearing last month, I feel compelled to
comment on the revised rules released Dec. 19.

Mr. Ted Sakai, director of the Department of Public Safety, should be
applauded for taking a bad set of rules and, in less than one month,
turning them into a workable framework.

He eliminated the most objectionable rules that contradicted the
spirit and imposed restrictions beyond those authorized by the
underlying medical marijuana law.

Responding to public and patients' concerns, he removed the up to
60-day waiting period for patient access to marijuana, travel and
mailing restrictions enforced by the state, and unnecessarily onerous
requirements for physicians.

Furthermore, he inserted provisions for an appeal process for patients
to express their concerns.

Even with this dramatically improved set of rules, many details that
will require the weighing of law enforcement objectives against
legitimate health care needs remain to be clarified.

While I still have basic concerns about a law enforcement agency
administering a health care program, I believe Mr. Sakai has shown
himself to be open to patients' issues and rights. I hope he will
continue to be available to offer his balanced judgment as we begin
implementation of this ground-breaking humanitarian program.

Congratulations to Mr. Sakai. He is an asset to this administration's
efforts to offer medical care when needed and law enforcement when

Jeff Crawford, Ph.D
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