Q: What does this ordinance say in ordinary language?
A: This ordinance says that in the County of Hawaii ‘adult personal use’ shall be defined as possession and use of 24 plants or less OR 24 ounces or less (OR any combination of plants and the equivalent dried material that doesn’t add up to more than 24 plants). This law does NOT legalize the possession of Cannabis which is still under federal law. It just provides guidelines for the County Council, our Police Department and our Prosecution not to arrest, cite or seize property or PROSECUTE where ‘adult personal use’ is concerned. ‘Adult personal use’ is considered a misdemeanor and not worthy of criminal charges in the county of Hawaii. It a way of saving several million dollars of County funds and a way of ensuring that resources are allocated to address far more serious problems in the community.
This ordinance does not protect you on public property or if you are under the age of 21 years.
Q: So is this ordinance a law?
A: Yes, that’s right. It’s a law since November 5, 2008. The Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis Ordinance is also called Hawaii County Ordinance 08-181. This ordinance guides our Police, Prosecution and our Council to act in accordance with this ordinance so that ‘adult personal use’ (as defined by the ordinance) is treated as a misdemeanor and not a criminal offense.
Click here to see the Ordinance: …
Q: So is it legal for me to have 24 plants?
A: Your rights to privacy and discretion are ensured by this ordinance but everyone should know this legislation does not make possession legal. This ordinance is a mandate to the Hawaii County Police Department that redirects their priorities away from arrests for ‘adult personal use’ on private property according to the terms of the ordinance (24 ounces or 24 plants or a combination of the above).
Q: Can the police arrest me for 24 plants or 24 ounces?
A: The ordinance doesn’t legalize possession but your privacy and rights to privacy are protected. This ordinance only applies to private property. You should know that it doesn’t apply if you are in your vehicle or in a public place.
Q: What if I was arrested for possessing a small amount of cannabis material or for a few plants prior to November 5 when the law was passed? Do I have any rights under this ordinance?
A: The simple answer to this question is yes. Under the ordinance in Section 6 the Prosecution department (Office of The Prosecuting Attorney) is requested to comply with the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority of Cannabis. Council are specifically directed in Section 14-101. The ordinance specifically spells out that “…neither the County Prosecuting Attorney nor any attorney prosecuting on behalf of the County of Hawaii shall prosecute for any possession or cultivation of Cannabis in a manner inconsistent with the Lowest Law Enforcement Priority”It further says that the Prosecution of Hawaii County shall recognize that “… in cases where the amount possessed or grown is less than 24 (twenty four) plants or the dried equivalent, possession for adult personal use shall be presumed…”
The guidelines are very clear that our County Prosecution may not continue to prosecute cases involving ‘adult personal use’. If you are currently being prosecuted for a case that would be defined here as ‘adult personal use’, (24 plants or 24 ounces on private property for those 21 and over) then please contact the Peaceful Sky Alliance. We’d like to advocate for you on your behalf.
Q: Why are the helicopters flying? I thought the ‘Peaceful Sky Initiative’ was meant to end the police helicopters so why are they still flying?
A: Thank you for this question! The ordinance is very specific that this county shall NOT support any further funding of marijuana eradication. That means they cannot accept any funding. Nada! Zero! Zip! As of the posting of this entry (November 5, 2009, exactly a year since anniversary), the County have been notified that by accepting funding for the current round of ‘marijuana eradication’ helicopter overflights, they are in clear violation of the Hawaii County Ordinance 08-181.