BY LAW ENFORCER KEN BACH
AND THE MAUI COUNTY PHARMACISTS ASSOCIATION
BY BUCK QUAYLE
Legalize Marijuana No
Legalize Marijuana No. A strong plea against legalization of marijuana was issued last week in Lahaina by a retired Californian with more than 20 years experience in law enforcement work.
Ken Bach, now a west Maui resident, told members of the Lahaina Kiwanis Club that medical evidence suggests serious harmful effects from marijuana.
Bach worked for 17 years as chief investigator for the district attorney of Sonoma County, Calif.
He cited a five-year study of occasional users (defined as persons smoking one or two marijuana cigarettes per day) which, he said, concluded marijuana may adversely affect the brain.
He also said he believes marijuana smoking can lead to use of more dangerous drugs. A person's resistance to experimentation with hard drugs is weakened through marijuana smoking, he claimed.
Marijuana usage can also lead to social disorientation for an individual, he said, making it difficult for a person to carry out his work.
Bach said he feels that no legislature will approve legalization of the drug if its members "know all the facts".
According to Bach, marijuana has no medical use, although at one time it was thought to be a possible remedy for gout.
The plant, one of a basic family of hemp plants, has been around for over 3,000 years, he said. He described the sticks, stems and seeds as "harmless".
Tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly called THC, is the active ingredient in the plant, Bach said. He said this substance appears as resin droplets on the leaves of the mature plant.
To prepare the substance, Bach said the leaves are stripped off and dried. The partaker then ignites the substance, which turns the THC resin into gas, he continued. The smoke is then inhaled and held in the lungs for 30 seconds to one minute to allow the resin to condense on the walls of the lungs and be absorbed into the bloodstream, he said.
According to Bach, the THC then affects the central nervous system as both a stimulant and a depressant. He said the results cannot be compared to those of alcohol.
Boch said there are many different grades of marijuana. The most common type is Mexicana, which has a very low THC content. Bach said there is an Egyptian variety which is 100 times stronger. One "joint" of this marijuana may cause a person to hallucinate for over seven hours, he said.
The Maui County Pharmacists Association
The newly formed Maui County Pharmacists Assn. is opposing proposed changes in Hawaii's Penal Code that would reduce possession of marijuana to a misdemeanor.
The group drafted a statement which was submitted to members of the state legislature's judiciary committees and Maui County's state legislators, asking for retention of present pentalties until "positive proof of safety" of marijuana is established.
"There are those who indicate that marijuana is not dangerous or addicting and therefore should be legalized," the statement said.
"However, much evidence to the contrary is also available and in fact there is NO evidence to the effect that this drug is safe. There has been increasing interest and studies on possible genetic defects in the use of marijuana. Studies have indicated genetic abnormalities in smaller animals. Effects on humans could begin to show up in this generation due to the widespread use."
Buck Quayle at the Maui Lahaina Sun bureau circa 1970
Reporter/Photographer Buck Quayle in 1971 in Maui with the Cartagenian in the background
Another Day At The Office Haleakala National Park