This letter to the editor was published in the The Maui News. If I was a tax paying citizen of Maui, I would be greatly disturbed that the Police Department was stationing an armed officer at Walmart to hand out anti marijuana pamphlets instead of being available for real police business.
The actual flyer, with the stapled-on opposition to pro-medical marijuana bills (click for full-size PDF)
I saw a Maui police officer at Walmart handing out pamphlets and asking people to speak out against certain medical marijuana bills currently under consideration.
This Maui County employee, using a Maui Police Department cruiser, wearing a gun under color of authority, was handing out pamphlets funded by federal block grants and nonprofits. They included a message from Chief Gary Yabuta claiming that marijuana is not medicine despite state law and medical reports recognizing that marijuana is a legitimate medicine.
Are Maui police officers allowed to use county or federal funds to spread misinformation to their financial advantage? Do we want to allow our Police Department to intimidate us into creating a police state?
If you have ever complained to a police officer about a law, you almost certainly heard the cliche that the police do not make the laws, they only enforce them. What do we do now that they are trying to influence bills that protect and serve only the police?
What is the real story here? Is it all about MPD trying to protect its funding at the expense of Maui’s medical community? Or is it about the millions of dollars in tax revenues that could save our schools and rescue our crippled economy?
We live in an ideal climate for cannabis cultivation, and that has given us this opportunity to create a model of both compassionate care and financial sustainability.
Brian J. Murphy