Up in smoke
It’s no secret that crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as ice, has been a scourge in Hawai’i for many years.
Numerous groups and individuals allege that the explosion of ice use in Hawai’i is directly related to the state’s marijuana eradication program, Operation Green Harvest. Since the inception of Green Harvest in 1977, once-affordable marijuana prices have increased steadily.
Twelve years after Green Harvest helicopters began buzzing through Hawai’i’s skies, former Attorney General Warren Price made an eerie prediction. In his 1989 report entitled Survey of Hawaii’s War on Drugs, Price states: ‘The destruction of the [marijuana] industry…would create another problem: there would simply be a shift to other competitively priced drugs…victories over the pakalolo industry would create a vacuum that harder drugs could fill.’
Further evidence of Hawai’i’s marijuana eradication programs being linked to the rise in ice use is pointed out in a report released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The report, Ice and Other Methamphetamine Use: An Exploratory Study 1991-1994 Final Report, states that, ‘In Honolulu, the overwhelming majority began using meth after 1984 (86 percent)Ãƒâ€“The use of ice in Honolulu has led toÃƒâ€“significant social disruption in poor working communities where it replaced marijuana which had become scarce due to eradication policies.’
The report interviewed many ice users and Hawai’i residents. The respondent’s statements all held the same overtone: since Green Harvest, there’s no pot, but a lot of ice. As one Wai’anae resident put it: ‘Plenty guys I know use ice because they can’t get pot.’
Interestingly, the complete 209-page study has been pulled from the Internet. A few pages can be found here and there.
Curious to verify this for myself, I asked a dozen addicts, all of whom asked to remain anonymous, why they started smoking ice. I wasn’t surprised that all of them had the same response: Pot is too expensive. Batu’s cheap.
They all stated that they would never have started smoking ice if pot were available and affordable.
On the Big Island, Roger Christie, founder of THC Ministry and a cannabis sacrament minister, tried to introduce an initiative on the 2006 Hawai’i County ballot to put a halt to Green Harvest.
The initiative never saw the light of day due to a minimum petition signature requirement that was not met.
Christie is permitted to legally grow and use pot for religious purposes. But it wasn’t easy. THC Ministry had to put together–and prove valid religious use of–everything from religious texts and garments to dietary restrictions.
Christie’s focus continues on getting rid of Green Harvest and re-allocating funds to fight the ice epidemic. He puts part of the blame on lawmakers and lack of public information in regard to Green Harvest versus ice statistics.
‘[Nobody’s] asking ‘What is the cause of the ice epidemic?’ said Christie.
‘What other epidemic is there in world history where people don’t care what caused it? It’s a huge psychological disconnect that screams for attention.’