Category Archives: Uncategorized

Drug Policy Forum Legislative Agenda for 2018

Please see the embedded document, which you can download, to learn a bit about our 2018 legislative agenda. Together with allies, we are tackling issues from bail reform to drug possession laws, civil asset forfeiture and medical cannabis.


Download the PDF file .

Press Release – Going After Legal Adult Use Cannabis Would Put Federal Government on Wrong Side of History and Science



CONTACT: Carl Bergquist, Executive Director, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi (DFPHI)

(808) 518-3213;


HONOLULU, HI – The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i (DPFHI) strongly condemns today’s reactionary move by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to rescind the 2013 Cole Memorandum and related guidance (Cole Memo), effectively marking adult use cannabis states with a bull’s eye just days after California joined the “green rush.” The Cole Memo was issued by the Obama Administration in the wake of Colorado’s and Washington State’s successful legalization initiatives. It set a list of criteria for states to follow in order to avoid federal interest in their cannabis programs – these included the prevention of: distribution of cannabis to minors, interstate diversion of cannabis, and revenue going to criminal cartels and gangs.

This action by the Trump Administration is part of a continuum of reactionary Drug War era policies based on discredited criminal justice approaches and seemingly insatiable reliance on junk science,” said Carl Bergquist, DPFHI Executive Director. He continued: “Back in May 2017, AG Sessions announced that low-level drug offenders would once again be criminalized to the maximum extent possible, and now he begins 2018 by signaling that federal prosecutors should go after states pursuing well-regulated, democratically enacted cannabis programs.” “Fortunately, both state and federally elected leaders from both parties in the legalization states are already standing up for their constitutional right to be the ‘laboratories of democracy,’ to use former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ apt phrase.”

Supporting Hawaii’s state medical cannabis program is crucial, but state officials should now also join our federal legislators who have called for rescheduling and decriminalizing of cannabis and increased research. For now, it is essential to note that the federal government continues to be prevented from using federal tax dollars to go after state medical cannabis programs. Today’s move to rescind the Cole Memo will hopefully spur Congress to put a similar halt to any federal targeting of legal state adult use cannabis. We urge all four members of the Hawai’i Congressional delegation to co-sponsor these amendments. Regardless, Hawai’i should use the upcoming 2018 legislative session to begin charting the path toward adult use cannabis. If such a program already existed, Hawai’i would like Colorado, Alaska and Nevada surely defend it. So just because AG Sessions, informed by Reefer Madness rather than science and common sense, spoke today, saying “jump,” does not mean Hawai’i should ask “how high?”



Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i; PO Box 83, Honolulu, HI 96810; e-mail:


Press Release: With the Passage of Drug Paraphernalia Reform, Hawaiʻi is Poised for Brighter, Healthier Future

Download the PDF file .

World-renowned Medical Cannabis Researcher Speaks on Oahu at 3 Events This Week!

Aloha Drug Policy Forum Supporters:

This coming week, please consider attending any or all of the following FREE events focused on medical cannabis.  You can register via the eventbrite links below. One of the medical cannabis dispensary licensees, Mānoa Botanicals, is sponsoring the events.

While they are intended for somewhat difference audiences, they will all feature the world-renowned cannabis researcher, Dr. Sue Sisley. Dr. Sisley has conducted pioneering research on the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with medical cannabis. As of 2015, PTSD is one of the debilitating qualifying conditions here in Hawai’i for which doctors and advance practice nurses can certify a patient to use medical cannabis! That was only possible thanks to your support. Mahalo nui!

1) The Future of Medical Cannabis in Hawaii @ Temple Emanu-El, Wednesday, July 12th  at 7pm


2) The Vitality of Medical Cannabis in Scientific Studies @ The UH Cancer Center Friday, July 14th at 5pm

Location: Sullivan Room, University of Hawaii Cancer Center

701 Ilalo St., Honolulu, HI 96813

$5 cash-only parking in Parking Lot C or free street parking available; see map

Light Pupus


3) Understanding the Benefits of Medical Cannabis @ The Honolulu Wellness Center Sunday July 16th at 6pm


*****FREE PARKING is available in the guest lot. Take a right as you go up the driveway. Once parked, take the pedestrian walkway to get to the Nauru Tower. Once you enter the lobby, sign your vehicle into the register, then walk to the left towards the security desk. You’ll see a private elevator that will take you directly up to the Honolulu Wellness Center.

Press Release: Drug War Redux, US Attorney-General Embraces the Past as Hawai’i is Poised to Move Forward

Drug War Redux: US Attorney-General Embraces the Past as Hawai’i is Poised to Move Forward


CONTACT: Carl Bergquist, Executive Director, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii

(808) 518-3213;


HONOLULU, HI – Today, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions made good on previous promises and issued a directive to all US Attorneys ordering them to seek more uniform, harsher sentences including for non-violent drug offenders. The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i (DPFHI) rejects this time traveling to past failures that have such a racially disparate impact.  Hawai’i like most of the country is actually moving in the opposite direction by embracing a compassionate, commonsensical and evidence-based approach to criminal justice. Further, the US Supreme Court in a string of rulings has called into question federal sentencing guidelines and other aspects related to mandatory minimums.

In its recently concluded 2017 session, the Hawai’i State Legislature overwhelmingly passed a law (HB1501) reducing the penalty for non-violent drug paraphernalia offenses from a maximum five year sentence with a hefty fine to a civil violation with a maximum fine of $500. This was done out of recognition that locking up nonviolent drug users not only overburdens our jails and prisons – the conditions of which the ACLU of Hawai’i have called unconstitutional – but that criminalizing drug use is no way to help someone in need of treatment.

As recently as last month, the US Supreme Court issued yet another ruling that highlights issues with constantly seeking harsher penalties. In a quest to seek more uniform sentences, the US had been seeing longer sentences for nonviolent drug and other offenses and an elimination of judge discretion to take individual circumstances into account. In 2005, the Court ruled that the sentencing guidelines should be advisory and not mandatory, restoring judge discretion. Then this April, the Supreme Court ruled the judges do not need to hand out multiple mandatory sentences.

In other words, this “Island in the Pacific”, many other states and the US Supreme Court are on a path at odds with AG Sessions retrogressive policy. This is why we are urging Governor David Ige to sign HB1501 into law forthwith, sending a strong signal that Hawai’i understands that public safety is enhanced by a smart approach that instead of criminalizing drug use, takes public health into account and reserves resources for the most serious offenders.

Updated Version of Medical Cannabis Guide for Patients and Health Care Professionals!

Download the PDF file .

Join us on Maui! Drug Policy Forum Comes to Wailuku 4/4 – Updates on Hawaii’s Drug Laws, Including Medical Cannabis!


Maui DPF

Dedicated to safe, responsible, humane and effective drug policies since 1993

MAUI EVENT!  Please Save the Date.

On Tuesday, April 4th, 2017 (from 6pm to 9pm)

Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii will present:

“Talk Story—What’s Happening with Drug Laws in Hawaii?”

Please join us for a FREE evening of Talk Story with Pamela Lichty MPH, President and Wendy Gibson R.N., Field Organizer for The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.


We encourage you to join in the discussions about ongoing efforts to make meaningful changes to Hawaii’s Drug Laws.


Learn about legislation on Marijuana Decriminalization, Legalization, Drug Paraphernalia, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) project, and other bills in motion.


Get updates on Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana (Cannabis) Program and the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Systems, related legislation and ongoing educational efforts.



WHERE: Wailuku–Velma McWayne Santos– Community Center.

395 Waena Street, Wailuku 96793 (between Lower Main St. and Eha St.). Parking is FREE. Meeting Room and Restrooms are ADA Accessible.


This event is Open to the Public and FREE.

Donations are graciously accepted.


Light Refreshments will be served.



For more information, please call (808) 321-4503, e-mail,

or visit our Website at


You can also LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii (@DPFHawaii)

Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii (@MCcoalitionHI)


New Poll Shows Increased, Strong Support for Cannabis Reform

Download the PDF file .

Drug Policy Forum’s Legislative Priorities for 2017

Aloha Supporters:

Please see the document below for our 2017 legislative priorities. As soon as specific legislation is introduced, we will provide you with bill numbers and action items.

May 2017 be the year that Hawai’i finally decriminalizes possession of cannabis for adult personal use as well as the possession of drug paraphernalia. Imua!

We wish you a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Download the PDF file .

Nurses Continuing Education Training – Nov. 19th – Others Welcome Too!

Patients Out of Time will be presenting “The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know“. This all day seminar is the perfect opportunity to expand the number of Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in Hawai‘i who are willing and qualified to certify and renew medical cannabis patients.

The general public, patients, interested individuals, and doctors are also welcome to attend to expand their knowledge of the medical uses of cannabis!

Details below:


Download the PDF file .

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. [Registration from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – drinks and snacks will be available]. Lunch will not be provided.

Location: Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance, Real Office Centers, 1110 Nu‘uanu Ave. #6, Honolulu, HI. PLEASE NOTE: This venue is not wheelchair-accessible.

Contact Hours: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #16044, for 6 contact hours

Cost: $100.00 for all attendees until November 18, $120 to register at the door on November 19. A syllabus will be provided for all attendees registering to claim CEU credits.

Description: This timely and provocative seminar will include an overview of cannabis, the various cannabinoids (endogenous, phyto-cannabinoids and pharmaceutical cannabinoid products) and the newly discovered endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) that is present in all humans. By understanding the ECS, it becomes more clear as to how and why cannabis is a safe and effective medication for a wide array of illnesses and conditions. The healthcare professional’s role in patient care and education regarding the safe use of cannabis, including ingestion methodologies and interactions with prescription opiates, will be discussed. State and federal laws regarding cannabis as medicine will also be presented.

The event will feature:

g43802Presenter: Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, is a medical cannabis consultant and addictions nurse consultant, co-founder of Patients Out of Time, and Past President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.



g4380Presenter: Wendy Gibson, RN, BSN, a cannabis nurse and ACNA member who is involved in helping shape medical cannabis laws and educating health care professionals in Hawai‘i. She happily serves as the Field Organizer for The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai‘i and The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

g4420Presenter: Stephen P. Pingree, Tax Defense Attorney and Alliance member. Stephen has legal and business experience with the Medical Marijuana (MMJ) law and regulations in the State of Nevada; as well as Federal and other states’ MJ laws and regulations. He is well versed in the Hawai‘i MMJ law (HRS 329D) and DOH MMJ Rules and Regulations.