Resolution for Hawaii State Legislature

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Whereas, both the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Hawai’i contain strong protections of civil liberties;

Whereas, especially important of the citizen’s rights are those of worship, speech and the right to post reasonable bond while awaiting trial;
U.S. Constitution Amendment VIII
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

Hawai’i Constitution
“Section 12 Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines
imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted. The court may
dispense with bail if reasonably satisfied that the defendant or witness
will appear when directed, except for a defendant charged with an offense punishable by life imprisonment.”
Whereas, citizen of Hawai’i and long time community activist Rev. Roger Christie has been denied bail and held in detention for 2 years and 7 months;

Whereas, the charges against Rev. Roger Christie are based upon the free exercise of his religion, specifically the use and provision of marijuana as sacrament;

Whereas, Rev. Roger Christie holds State of Hawaii Department of Health license number 00-313 as a “Cannabis sacrament” Minister to marry people, and acted in good faith and trust in the State of Hawai’i.

Whereas, Rev. Roger Christie’s participation in the voter initiative process was used as a reason for denying him bail;

Whereas, Rev. Christie being denied bail “as a danger to his community” is false, as he is a peaceful first-time offender whose actual community, Hawai’i Island, overwhelmingly passed the voter initiative in 2008 that classifies marijuana as the “lowest police priority,” and many Hawai’i Island citizens have written the court and U.S. Attorney in Rev. Christie’s support;

Whereas, the denial of bail gives the appearance that the courts hold Rev. Christie’s ministry a higher danger than accused murderers, who are granted bail;

Whereas, June of 2011 a UN commission of world leaders, including former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, President of Greece, ex-Presidents of Columbia and Mexico, recommended ending the criminalization of marijuana users who “do no harm to others”;

Whereas, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy has recently said, “Coming out of the recent election, it is clear that we’re in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana;”

Whereas, medical and recreational use of marijuana is becoming acceptable in the US, and at the Hawaii Democratic Convention 11HCD Resolution to Repeal the Prohibition of Cannabis was passed in 2012;

Whereas many upstanding citizens use marijuana in moderation but because of our laws are pressured to deny it;

Whereas, a recent poll in Hawai’i by QMark Research shows that 78% support a dispensary system for medical marijuana, and 69% think that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate;

Whereas, medical marijuana is permitted in Hawaii but no dispensaries exist for purchasing it, thus creating a need for the “therapeutic ministry” provided by Rev. Christie and unjustly making criminals of the producers and sellers of marijuana;

Whereas, Gov. Abercrombie wrote in a letter to the D.E.A. on Feb. 10, 2012 “I am also concerned that patients with serious medical conditions who could benefit from medical use of cannabis do not have a safe and consistent source of the drug” and “…the long-standing classification of medical use of cannabis in the United States as an illegal Schedule 1 substance is fundamentally wrong and should be changed”;

Whereas, a study funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse called “Ice and Other Methamphetamine Use: An Exploratory Study 1991 – 1994” concluded among other things that “An important finding emerging from this study concerned the effect on individuals and communities from the scarcity of marijuana due to the eradication campaigns,” and “Moreover, successful periodic campaigns designed to eliminate this “evil” herb serve to steer the user to more dangerous substances”;

Whereas, Rev. Christie’s lengthy incarceration, because of a denial of bail, is a gross injustice; as declared by the former Dean of the U.H. Law School, Richard Miller in a letter to the U.S. Attorney; and as he further states, “Our most dangerous “drugs,” causing very large numbers of deaths, are alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana doesn’t even come close;”

Be it resolved, that the legislature recognizes this denial of bail to Roger Rev. Christie as a gross injustice and directs that letters be sent to the President Barack Obama, the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney in Hawaii, Florence T. Nakakuni asking them to do all in their power to remedy this injustice and to see to the proper handling of the case and the release of Rev. Roger Christie on reasonable bail, as required by the US and Hawai’i constitutions.

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