THE COUNTY OF HAWAI’I, THE STATE OF HAWAI’I
AN ORDINANCE ADDING A NEW ARTICLE TO THE HAWAI’I COUNTY CODE (2005 EDITION, AS AMENDED)
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE COUNTY OF HAWAI’I
Section 1: TITLE
This Article shall be known as the
‘LOWEST LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY OF CANNABIS ORDINANCE’
Section 2: PURPOSE
The purpose of this Article is to;
(a) Provide law enforcement more time and resources to focus on serious crimes.
(b) Allow our court systems to run more efficiently;
(c) Create space in our prisons to hold serious criminals;
(d) Save taxpayers money and provide more funding for necessities such as education and health care.
(e) Reduce the fear of prosecution and the stigma of criminality from non-violent citizens who harmlessly cultivate and/or use Cannabis for personal, medicinal, religious, and recreational purposes.
Section 3: FINDINGS
(a) The Institute of Medicine has found that Cannabis (marijuana) has medicinal value and is not a gateway drug.
(b) According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the use of Cannabis (marijuana) directly results in 0 (zero) deaths per year.
(c) According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the marijuana eradication program has not stopped Cannabis cultivation in the County ofHawai’i, rather the program has only decreased the availability of the plant, which increases it’s ‘street’ value, resulting in more crime.
(d) The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) also reported that a large increase of the use of methamphetamine, crack cocaine, and other hard drugs was related to the marijuana eradication program’s implementation.
(e) According to public record, the ‘mandatory program review’ for the marijuana eradication program, required by Section 3-16 of the CountyCharter to be performed at least once every 4 years, has never been performed in the 30 years that the program has existed.
(f) Law abiding adults are being arrested and imprisoned for nonviolent Cannabis offenses, clogging our court dockets, overcrowding our prisons, tying up valuable law enforcement resources and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in Hawai’i County alone each year.
(g) The citizens of the Cities of Hailey, Idaho; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Columbia, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas and Santa Barbara, Oakland, Santa Monica, and Santa Cruz, in California, and the citizens of Missoula County, Montana, all voted for Cannabis (marijuana) to be placed as law enforcement’s lowest law enforcement priority within the past five years.
Section 4: DEFINITIONS
(a) “Adult” means any individual who is 21 (twenty one) years of age or older.
(b) “Adult personal use” means the use of Cannabis on private property by adults. It does not include:
(a) distribution or sale of Cannabis;
(b) distribution, sale, cultivation, or use of Cannabis on public property;
(c) driving under the influence; or
(d) the commercial trafficking of Cannabis, or the possession of amounts of Cannabis in excess of the amounts defined as being appropriate for adult personal use.
(c) “Marijuana”, (as defined in the Hawaii Revised Statutes of Chapter 712-1240) means Cannabis.
(d) “Cannabis” means all parts of the Cannabis plant, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the Cannabis plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds, or its resin.
(e) “Lowest Law Enforcement Priority” means a priority such that all law enforcement activities related to all offenses other than the possession or cultivation of Cannabis for adult personal use shall be a higher priority than all law enforcement activities related to the adult personal use of Cannabis. The Lowest Law Enforcement Priority regarding possession or cultivation of Cannabis shall apply to any single case involving 24 (twenty four) or fewer Cannabis plants at any stage of maturity or the equivalent in dried Cannabis, where the Cannabis was intended for adult personal use.
(f) The “dried equivalent” of 24 or fewer Cannabis plants shall be presumed to be 24 (twenty four) or fewer ounces of usable Cannabis, excluding stems and other non active parts. A greater amount may also fall under the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority provisions described herein if such amount is shown by competent evidence to be no more than the dried equivalent of 24 plants.
Section 5: LOWEST LAW ENFORCEMENT PRIORITY POLICY RELATING TO THE ADULT PERSONAL USE OF CANNABIS
(a) The cultivation, possession and use for adult personal use of Cannabis shall be the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority for law enforcement agencies in thecounty of Hawai..i.
(b) The County of Hawaii’s County Council, the Police Commissioner, the Chief of Police and all associated law enforcement staff, deputies, officers and any attorney prosecuting on behalf of the
County of Hawaii shall make law enforcement activity relating to Cannabis offenses, where the Cannabis was intended for adult personal use, their Lowest Law Enforcement Priority. Law enforcement activities relating to Cannabis offenses include but are not limited to investigations, citation, arrest, search or seizure of property, or providing assistance to the prosecution of Cannabis offenses involving only the adult personal use of Cannabis;
(c) Neither the Chief of Police, the Police Commissioner, nor any attorney prosecuting on behalf of the County of Hawaii, nor any associated law enforcement staff, deputies, nor officers shall seek, accept or renew any formal or informal deputization or commissioning by a federal law enforcement agency for the purpose of investigating, citing, or arresting adults, nor for searching or seizing property from adults for Cannabis offenses subject to the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis where such activities would be in violation of that policy, nor shall such authorities exercise such powers that may be ancillary to deputization or commissioning for another purpose.
(d) The Hawaii County Council shall not authorize the acceptance or the issuing of any funding that is intended be used to investigate, cite, arrest, prosecute, search or seize property from adults for Cannabis offenses in a manner inconsistent with the county’s Lowest Law Enforcement Priority policy.
Section 6: COUNTY PROSECUTING ATTORNEYS
To the full extent allowed by the Constitution of the State of Hawaii, the people, through their county government, request that neither the County Prosecuting Attorney nor any attorney prosecuting on behalf of the County of Hawaii shall prosecute any violations of the sections of Chapter 712-1240 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes regarding possession or cultivation of Cannabis in a manner inconsistent with the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority, as described in Section 4 and 5 of this article; in cases where the amount possessed or grown is less than 24 (twenty four) plants or the dried equivalent, possession for adult personal use shall be presumed.
Section 7: EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS FOR CANNABIS ENFORCEMENT
(a) Neither the Hawaii County Council, nor the Police Commissioner, nor the Chief of Police, nor any attorneys prosecuting on behalf of the County of Hawaii, nor any associated law enforcement staff, deputies, or officers shall spend or authorize the expenditure of any public funds for the investigation, arrest, or prosecution of any person, nor for the search or seizure of any property in a manner inconsistent with the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority as defined in Section 4 and 5 of this article.
(b) The Hawaii County Council shall not support the acceptance of any funds for the marijuana eradication program.
Section 8: COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT
The Hawaii County Council shall ensure the timely implementation of this chapter by working with the Chief of Police and/or the Police Commissioner to;
(a) provide for procedures to receive grievances from individuals who believe that they were subjectedto law enforcement activity contrary to the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis, which is described in Section 4 and 5 of this Article;
(b) publish a reporting semi-annually on the implementation of this chapter every first day of June andevery first day of December, from this day forward, with the first report being issued June 1, 2009.These reports shall include but not be limited to: the number of all arrests, citations, property seizures, and prosecutions for all Cannabis offenses in the county of Hawaii, the number of complaints regarding marijuana eradication over-flights; the breakdown of all Cannabis arrests and citations by race, age, specific charge, and classification as infraction, misdemeanor, or felony, the estimated time and money spent by the County on law enforcement and punishment for adult Cannabis offenses, and any instances of officers or deputies assisting in state or federal enforcement of adult Cannabis offenses. These reports shall be published with the cooperation of the County of Hawaii’s Prosecuting Attorney, the Chief of Police, and all associated law enforcement staff in providing needed data.
Section 9: NOTIFICATION OF LOCAL, STATE, AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS
After the enactment of this Article, the County Clerk shall send letters on an annual basis (every June 1st of each year) to the Mayor of the County of Hawaii, the County of Hawaii voters’ Congressional Delegation, Hawaii’s U.S. senators, the County of Hawaii voters’ representatives in the Hawaii State Legislature, the Governor of Hawaii, and the President of the United States. This letter shall state;
“The citizens of the County of Hawaii have passed an initiative to make Cannabis offenses the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority, where the Cannabis is intended for adult personal use, and request that the federal and state branches of government remove criminal penalties for the cultivation, possession and use of Cannabis for adult personal use; the citizens also request that Cannabis policies here within the county of Hawaii be dealt with from our local law enforcement only.”
The letters may also state, be it the will of the County Council; that according to the 3 year study performed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more people used methamphetamine as a result of the marijuana eradication program; they may also express that methamphetamine is a growing problem in our community and more help would be appreciated in that area, and that the first action that would help in that area would be to end the marijuana eradication program.
This duty shall be carried out until state and federal laws are changed accordingly.
Section 10: STATUTORY AND CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION
All provisions in this article shall only be implemented to the full extent that the Constitution of the State of Hawai’i and the Hawai’i Revised Statutes allows, and in the event, and only in the event, that a court of competent jurisdiction determines that any provision in any section of this article may not be directed by voter initiative or by action of the County Council, then that specific mandatory provision only shall be deemed advisory and expression of the will of the people that the provision shall be implemented into law by whichever government branch or official whom has the power to implement it, and that the Hawai’i County Council shall take all actions within their power to work with those branches of government to express the will of the people and to encourage, support, and request the implementation of those provisions.
Section 11: SEVERABILITY
In the event, and only in the event, that a court of competent jurisdiction should find one or more of the sections, or parts of the sections of this Article illegal, or any provision of this Article or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the Article and the application of such provisions to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.