The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i is a non-profit organization founded in 1993, To educate policymakers and the public about effective ways of addressing drug issues in Hawai‘i with sensible and humane policies that reduce harm, expand treatment options, and adopt evidence-based practices while optimizing the use of scarce resources.
The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i envisions a just society where drug laws are grounded in science, compassion, and public health, and where criminalization is reserved for those who pose a genuine danger to public safety.
The truth is that progressive, harm reduction policies just work better. Countries such as The Netherlands that have been pursuing these policies have had better outcomes than countries that have focused on punitive, law enforcement centered approaches. Progressive drug laws help society by lowering the costs and harms associated with drugs.
Our president, Pamela Lichty has reached a settlement with the Department of Accounting and General Services. As part of the settlement agreement, the State is agreeing to wholesale revisions to its rules regarding demonstrations on State property. Effective immediately:
• Individuals or groups (of any size) wishing to demonstrate at the State Capitol (or other property controlled by the Department of Accounting and General Services (“DAGS”)) no longer need a permit.
• Demonstrators can have a small table to distribute literature, no permit needed.
• Demonstrators can get a permit, if desired, to reserve a space, but will no longer have to indemnify the state and will not have to obtain insurance if they cannot afford it.
This should make it easier and cheaper for people and organizations to demonstrate at the state capitol, and we are very proud to have been a part of it!
The report is grounded in science, and is the product of a working group that includes such august names as Kofi Annan (former UN Secretary General), Ernesto Zedillo (former President of Mexico) and César Gaviria (Former President of Colombia, and former Secretary General of the Organization of American States).
It is also incredibly readable, and visually interesting. If you are interested at all in drug policy, it is certainly worth taking a look at.
The report looks at how governments must take control of black markets through harm-reduction and regulation of all drugs, thereby disempowering organized crime that has been enriched by the current law-enforcement centered strategy, and ensuring that enforcement does not impede the vastly more important dictates of public health. This report should be required reading by everyone working in drug policy.
As part of the HCR 48 Task Force on a dispensary system, the Legislative Reference Bureau has been asked to update their report on the lessons that Hawaii can take from other state medical marijuana programs. If you are interested in reading the report, it is available here:
The Drug Policy Forum is represented on the Dispensary Task Force that is working to make recommendations about a regulated system of dispensaries for the medical marijuana program.
The task force wants to hear from patients and stakeholders about what they need the dispensary system to be. This is a really good way for us to get involved in the process.
If you want to give your comments at the hearing, the Public Policy Center asks that you submit written testimony at least 24 hours prior to the event. They ask that you include:
Testifier’s name with position/title and organization; (patients and caregivers should simply say “patient” or “caregiver”)
The Dispensary Task Force to which the comments are directed; and
The date and time of the hearing.
You can submit it either on paper or by email:
Paper: 2 copies (including an original) to Room 331 in the State Capitol;
Email: For testimony less than 10MB in size, e-mail testimony to HCR48testimony@gmail.com.
Electronic testimony will be accepted until the start of the hearing.
Click here to visit the Public Policy Center website.
Harm Reduction is a philosophy and set of strategies for working with people engaged in potentially harmful behaviors. The main objective is to reduce the potential dangers and health risks associated with such behaviors, even for those who are not willing or able to completely stop. Harm reduction uses a non-judgmental, holistic and individualized approach to support incremental change & increase the health and well-being of individuals and communities.
The Tipping Point
The tipping point is the time when many small changes become significant enough to create larger, more important changes. Many in Hawaii and across the country feel we are at the tipping point in our response to drug use, drug users and recovery. A collaboration of service providers, community organizations, and concerned citizens will convene for a one-day interactive conference to discuss ways of developing more holistic and culturally appropriate evidence-based interventions in the context of harm reduction practice.
Conference Topics Include:
Housing first, homelessness & drug use
Harm reduction and recovery
Trauma informed care
Youth and drug use
Marijuana and medicinal cannabis
Drugs and sex work
Prescription drugs and overdose
Self-care for harm reduction workers
Kupuna and drug use
Overview of harm reduction
Conference Partners Include:
AIDS Education Project * AIDS Community Care Team * Community Alliance on Prisons * Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i * Gay Straight Alliance Hawai’i * Gregory House Programs * Hale Kipa *Harm Reduction Hawai’i * Hawai’i Appleseed * Hawai’i Department of Health’s Injury Prevention and Control Section * Hawai’i Department of Health’s STD/AIDS Prevention Branch * Hawai’i Island HIV/AIDS Foundation * Hawai’i Pacific University’s School of Social Work * Hawai’i Public Health Association * Hawai’i Youth Coalition * Hawai’i Youth Services Network * Hep Free Hawai’i * Hepatitis Support Network of Hawai’i * Hina Mauka * Kawai Foundation * Life Foundation* Mālama Pono * Maui AIDS Foundation * Mental Health America of Hawai’i * Planned Parenthood of Hawai’i * University of Hawai’i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry * University of Hawai’i at Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene *Waikiki Health Care-A-Van Program
This document from the Police Executive Research Forum is very informative. It is far from a wholesale acceptance of the fact that outright criminalization has failed but it does show some of the concerns that law enforcement has about these issues. It is certainly interesting to read the law enforcement take on the enormous and horrifying heroin epidemic that seems to be taking the United States by storm, and the remarkable shift in attitudes toward marijuana that has taken place here. As we move forward with a more rational and compassionate set of drug laws, we must remember to include law enforcement in the process. This is a good look at what they fear, and what they think about the current laws and state of affairs.
Visit them to learn more about legalization efforts and the expansion of the medical marijuana program here in Hawaii.
The first of the series of these editorials by the New York Times editorial board is entitled: States’ Rights, and focuses on how the federal head-in-the-sand mentality toward marijuana is serving only to make the national law seem outdated and misguided, while states pursue liberalization of marijuana laws in the shadow of a potential federal crackdown.
The New York Times is the paper of record, and so even if they are saying the same things that we have been yelling for decades, it shows that we aren’t the lunatic fringe anymore. Instead, the prohibitionists are now the ones out of step with America.
In a recent episode of John Oliver’s HBO comedy news program, Last Week Tonight, John dealt with one of the biggest problems we have in this country: prisons. Our prisons are full. More so than anywhere else in the world. The main reason for this is that we have drug laws that are a little draconian, and a lot racist.