District Court Judge Joseph P. Florendo Jr. found Geoff Woodhall, 42, guilty of third-degree promoting a detrimental drug following a bench trial, which is conducted without a jury. Florendo sentenced Woodhall to pay $330 in fines and fees.
“The medical use of marijuana is not one that’s freely given by the Legislature. It is allowed, but there are restrictions,” Florendo said. “The statute allows for transporting it if you have to get it from someone and bring it to your home, otherwise it would be beyond the control of the police if everyone can transport it whenever they want, wherever they want.”
“We’re going to appeal. Totally. Absolutely,” he said. A presentencing conference is slated for Feb. 28 giving time for an appeal to be filed with the court by his public defender, Sherry Lawson.
Woodhall, a registered medical marijuana patient, said he was detained by airport officials and federal Transportation Security Administration agents in March 2010 after he was asked to participate in “secondary screening,” which consisted of a patdown. During the patdown, 2 grams, less than one-eighth of an ounce, was located on Woodhall’s possession, he said.
Eventually, a police officer showed up, checked Woodhall’s information and he was released without charges, but had already missed his interisland flight to Honolulu. He learned prosecutors had pursued a possession charge about three months after the incident when he was called regarding a penal summons.
Two similar cases were resolved in December with very different results from Florendo’s ruling Thursday. District Court Judge Barbara Takase dismissed charges of second-degree promoting a dangerous drug against two Big Island medical marijuana patients who were arrested in 2008 at Hilo International Airport with a combined total of about 3.3 ounces.
Supporters had hoped the ruling would set precedent for other medical marijuana cases on the Big Island.
State law allows registered medical-marijuana patients to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana. The patients aren’t allowed to use the marijuana in a public setting but “transportation of marijuana for medical use is specifically protected,” according to a manual put out by the state Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division.
via : Hawaii Tribune-Herald
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