THE SENATE                           S.C.R. NO.            133
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                S.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                    SENATE  CONCURRENT


 1        WHEREAS, the National Association for Public Health
 2   Policy, the American Public Health Association, the American
 3   Society of Addiction Medicine, the American Journal of
 4   Psychiatry, the Federation of American Scientists, and the New
 5   England Journal of Medicine have concluded that patients
 6   suffering from AIDS, cancer, glaucoma, Tourette's Syndrome, and
 7   other diseases, as well as traumatic physical injuries, are
 8   finding relief from chronic symptoms and debilitating pain
 9   through the use of marijuana as medicine; and
11        WHEREAS, many patients in Hawai`i have testified to the
12   efficacy of marijuana in treating their own chronic symptoms
13   and debilitating pain; and
15        WHEREAS, such patients are currently subject to criminal
16   prosecution for utilizing marijuana to relieve their symptoms
17   and suffering; and
19        WHEREAS, physicians, who are aware of the positive effects
20   of marijuana, risk possible criminal prosecution and the loss
21   of their license to prescribe controlled substances upon
22   prescribing or recommending the use of marijuana due to
23   marijuana's placement as a Schedule I controlled substance;
25        WHEREAS, in recognition of the potential benefits of the
26   use of marijuana as medicine, several states including Alaska,
27   Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have
28   overwhemingly passed initiatives allowing the medicinal use of
29   marijuana despite prevailing federal law; and
31        WHEREAS, it is currently the policy of the State of
32   Hawai`i, as adopted by the Legislature in the "Choice of Evils"
33   defense in sections 703-301 and 302, Hawaii Revised Statutes,
34   and interpreted by the Hawai`i Supreme Court, to permit the use
35   of marijuana where a severe medical condition can be alleviated
36   safely by marijuana, but not by other effective drugs.

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 1   However, in practice this humane policy is thwarted because the
 2   patient may be prosecuted and must undergo a prosecution and
 3   trial before the right to use medical marijuana can be
 4   established; and
 6        WHEREAS, in United States v. Cannabis Cultivators Club, 5
 7   F. Supp. 2d 1086 (N.D. Cal. 1998), the issue presented to the
 8   federal district court was whether the defendants' conduct of
 9   manufacturing, possessing, and distributing medicinal marijuana
10   which may be lawful under state law, may nevertheless violate
11   federal; and
13        WHEREAS, the federal district court found that there is a
14   strong likelihood that the defendants' conduct violates the
15   Controlled Substances Act, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1), and the court
16   concluded that the Supremacy Clause of the United States
17   Constitution mandates that federal law supersede state law
18   where there is an outright conflict between such laws; now,
19   therefore,
21        BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twentieth Legislature
22   of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 1999, the House of
23   Representatives concurring, that the Legislative Reference
24   Bureau is requested to conduct a study regarding the language,
25   implementation, and effectiveness of medicinal cannabis laws in
26   Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington
27   including:
29        (1)  A review and discussion of problems encountered by
30             those states as a result of possible conflict or
31             inconsistency with federal law, and recommendations
32             for possible solutions;
34        (2)  An examination and critique of procedures enacted by
35             states that permit medical use of marijuana to ensure
36             medicinal marijuana laws are not abused;
38        (3)  An examination of the ways in which those states have
39             immunized:
41             (A)  Physicians who give, or fail to give, opinions
42                  or recommendations to patients for the medical
43                  use of marijuana; and
45             (B)  Persons who assist qualified patients to acquire
46                  the marijuana they need from civil or criminal
47                  liability; and
49        (4)  An examination of the policy, effect, and problems of
50             the "Choice of Evils" defense and how other states
51             have made the defense effective with regard to the
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                                  S.C.R. NO.            133
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 1             humane use of marijuana;
 3        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislative Reference
 4   Bureau submit a report of findings and recommendations to the
 5   Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of
 6   the regular session of 2000; and
 8        BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this
 9   concurrent resolution be transmitted to the President of the
10   United States, the President of the United States Senate, the
11   Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, members
12   of Hawaii's Congressional delegation, the Governor, and the
13   Acting Director of the Legislative Reference Bureau.