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December 2007

President's Message
League's Goal
Con Con Study Committee Reports (Jean Aoki)
Honolulu League Strongly Opposing Rail (Pearl Johnson)
Gleanings from Our Readings (Jean Aoki)
Amending the State Constitution (Harold G. Loomis)
Drug Policy Study (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Ah Jook Ku
Tennessee Really Makes it Hard! (Jean Aoki)
In Support of the LWV-HI (Jackie Parnell)
League Immigration Policy (Jackie Parnell)
Iron-Jawed Angels Fundraiser (Jackie Parnell & Mary Anne Raywid)
Hawaii Chapter Report (Leilani Bronson-Crelly & Sue Dursin)
Kauai Chapter Report
Honolulu Chapter Report (Piilani Kaopuiki)
Website Update - www.lwv-hawaii.com - the first year (Stephen Trussel)

Drug Policy Study

Several weeks ago there was a major marijuana raid on Kauai. There were police and guns and helicopters and arrested growers. Lots of advance planning. Trials and incarceration to come. Lots of taxpayer dollars spent. Are there better ways to spend our tax dollars?

On July 17, 2007 the House Judiciary Committee with Chair Tommy Waters, hosted a Drug Policy forum. One of the guest panelists, Judge James Gray, has been serving on the bench in Orange County for 25 years. Currently he presides over civil trials on the California Supreme Court. He is also a member of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). He floated the idea that we treat marijuana like alcohol: regulate and tax it. Not only would we benefit from the tax revenue, we would save the money currently being spent on a failed effort to eradicate it. Monies could be directed to treatment, education and rehabilitation, which will help continue to reduce crime in our society. Best of all it would make marijuana less available to our kids. Alcohol is regulated and controlled by the government and requires ID's. Marijuana is controlled by drug dealers; no need for ID's there.

If you would like to join the drug discussion as we draft the first part of our study Hawaii League, Facts & Issues Report: Are We Winning the War on Drugs? please join us at our next Drug Policy sub-committee meeting.

Our consensus questions for the study include:

  1. Should drug abuse be viewed as a public health problem and not solely as a criminal matter?

  2. To what extent is drug abuse the reason for Hawaii's prison overcrowding and the need for using mainland prisons?

  3. Are criminal sanctions more effective in reducing drug abuse than prevention and treatment programs?

  4. Do current policies take a heavier toll on disadvantaged communities than on others, exacerbating the social conditions that created drug abuse in the first place?

  5. Do pregnant women with histories of substance use have access to programs and facilities equipped to provide prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care? Is violence against women and other circumstances specific to women's involvement in drug-related activities, overlooked or ignored?

  6. Is current drug policy protecting our children?

Our next meeting will be held on October 9, at 12:00 p.m. in the League office.

Suzanne Meisenzahl, Chair
Women's Health & Safety Committee

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