County Council asks why the durn helicopters are still flying

Oct 23–

Just in case you’re following our local news about how the lowest law enforcement priority, known here as the “Peaceful Sky” initiative, is playing out, here’s a link to a story about our county council talking to the local police.

I wasn’t there, but the story in our local paper here says that every single private citizen who testified urged the police to stop eradicating marijuana.

Now, in a way I can kinda sympathize with the police and prosecutors who are in the sticky position of being sworn to uphold state and federal laws, as well as being answerable to the local citizens here on the Big Island. They’ve got 58% of the voters telling them to make pot eradication the lowest priority, and state law telling them that certain medical patients are legal for marijuana, and then federal law telling them to bust all them damn potheads.

The three helicopter eradication missions flown this year were before the Department of Justice released their recent memo telling prosecutors to leave medical marijuana patients alone; so perhaps now that there’s a more sensible federal policy in place, our prosecutors can follow the local law without being pulled in two different directions.

Our local low priority initiative directs the council to reject grants or funding earmarked for cannabis eradication; so where’d they get the money to fly all those helicopters? They’re not cheap.

Supposedly they had leftover money from the last fiscal year, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources received a $475,000 eradication grant from the DEA in February. (Yes, that was after we voted in the “Peaceful Sky” law.)

I strongly suspect, and actually hope a little, that these flights we’ve been having are just somebody’s way of spending the rest of the money that’s left without actually giving a crap about the actual pot. I could see that. There’s money in the budget–if you give it back some other jerk’s gonna spend it on himself–so why not fly a few last helicopter missions and give the money to the people it would have gone to anyway? Of course, if that was what was going on, couldn’t they have just handed out the checks and left the helicopter on the ground? Just saying.

So. Hopefully they’ve spent all there durn eradication money. I suppose the DEA will still fly us, though.

Yay for Kelly Greenwell, council representative from Kona, who took the opportunity to rip the cops and lawyers a new one, saying, “The number of rapes, the number of lost children, the amount of horror that goes on in the dark corners of this island need to be looked at. Chasing somebody who’s smoking a goddamn cigarette made of marijuana is insane.”

Another Councilman apologized to the cops for having to defend themselves, but hey, did they think we were going to be all happy that they’re flying right over our yards after we already told them to quit wasting time going after cannabis? You’d think the name “Peaceful Sky Initiative” would have tipped them off. Maybe they thought we’d just smoke another joint and forget all about it.


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