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Medical Marijuana Farm Pitched for Maui l Jan 31 2008
By Gina Mangieri

Medical marijuana could be grown in industrial settings if a bill in the legislature goes through.

Allan Dougherty is a medical marijuana patient in support of the effort. The 84-year-old veteran says marijuana eases the chronic aches in his foot and ankle.

"I take a couple of hits of pot and I forget all about the pain," Dougherty said. "It's great. I enjoy it, and that's the bonus, you enjoy it."

The state's 4,047 certified patients are permitted to use what they grow -- and in limited amounts.

"The time it takes to grow these plants is inevitably going to be harmful to the patient," said medical marijuana patient Joseph Rattner.

But that could change. A proposed bill would establish a secure growing facility on Maui on several acres, and patients could lease land cultivated by what the draft calls a "certified facilitator."

"The whole idea is to give an adequate and safe, secure location for parents to get their marijuana," said Brian Murphy, on whose land the proposal would allow the farm.

If it works in the test location, lawmakers and proponents say it could be expanded to other growers.

"Our agricultural farmers [could] help take care of getting the medicine for these patients," Murphy said.

"This can be very beneficial to the state," said Rep. Tom Brower, (D) Waikiki. "We can be a world leader with this medicine, and also I believe this will help with the hemp industry."

The bill's backers know it won't sit well with federal, state and county authorities, but they're asking for cooperation.

"We need the support of law enforcement," Brower said. "This can be done. I don't believe this medicine would be abused any more than other medicines."

Lawmakers say allowing the marijuana farm would help move users off black-market goods.

"The state legislature is now going to step forward to make a difference for these folks," said Rep. Joe Bertram, (D) Maui, "to tighten up our medical marijuana laws."

State authorities say the farm would violate federal law.

Other medical marijuana bills would increase the amount a patient can possess, and give public employees drug-test protections if they hold a medical marijuana registration certificate.


Source: Medical Marijuana Farm Pitched for Maui | KHON2 FOX | Local Top Stories, Jan 31, 2008, by Gina Mangieri.
New Vision Television
, 88 Piikoi Street,Honolulu,HI news@khon2.com
, Gina Mangieri