Marijuana Fact Sheet

Facts on Marijuana:

  • Marijuana comes from the plant known as Cannabis Sativa. Its legal use is strictly monitored and regulated for medicinal purposes for people who are terminally ill; the plant also creates strong fibers known as "Hemp" which are used to create clothes, shoes and body products.
  • A key ingredient in marijuana is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gives the leaves, flowering tops, and stems a powerful effect (“high”) when smoked or ingested.
  • The more THC in marijuana, the stronger and longer the high, and the longer it will remain in the body. Marijuana plants grown in Hawaii are known for their especially high THC content.
  • Street names for marijuana include: Pakalolo, Pot, Weed, Grass, Maui-Wowie, Reefer, J, Ganja, Mary Jane, Bomb, Doobie, Herbs, Buds, Skunk and Hay (and the list goes on).
  • There are over 421 chemicals in marijuana; the number of chemicals increase to over 2,000 (many of these are carcinogens or cancer causing agents) when the drug is smoked
  • Marijuana smoke has 50% more carcinogens and tars than tobacco smoke.
  • After smoking only one joint, 10 to 20 percent of the drug (THC) attaches to body tissue for up to 30 days. Traces of THC can be found up to four and a half months after stopping habitual use of the drug.

Marijuana Use/Abuse in Hawaii and Nationally:

  • 96.6 million people in the US, ages 12 and older, have tried marijuana at least once.
  • Records show that 76% of all drug-users currently use marijuana.
  • In Hawaii, 18.4% of females and 23.2% of males in high school reported current use of marijuana.
  • 70% of students reported that marijuana was easily accessible.
  • In 2003, 1% of 6th graders, 7% of 8th graders, 15% of 10th graders and 18% of 12th graders reported trying marijuana at some point in their lifetime.
  • Reports show that children who use marijuana are more likely, in the future, to use other illicit drugs.
  • Though marijuana is considered widely obtainable statewide, with increasing overall availability in the Honolulu area, sales have declined in public housing developments because of increased police efforts (such as Weed & Seed), according to a 2002 study by the National Drug Control Policy.
  • Since 2002, marijuana use amongst mid/high school age students has declined by 3%.

Effects of Marijuana Use:

  • Interferes with brain processes: impairs perception, impairs judgment of speed and time, impairs motor coordination, impairs short-term/long-term memory (especially in youth)
  • Causes precancerous lesions of the lungs
  • Increases risks of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema
  • Impairs immune function
  • Increases heart rate, anxiety, panic attacks

Possible Indicators/Paraphernelia of Use:

  • Bloodshot/glassy eyes
  • Burnt fingertips
  • Giggly and silly (for no reason)
  • Odor on clothes/bedroom
  • Eating binges
  • Eye drops
  • Incense, Breath Mints to hide odor
  • Glass pipes, bongs, or other objects used for smoking (including cigarette paper and lighters)

Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty remembering/learning
  • Depression

Legal Issues:

Use or distribution of marijuana is a crime under both Hawaii and U.S. Law. Yet legal in the state of Hawaii as a medically prescribed substance, because it's considered by Federal Law as a Schedule 1 drug it is illegal for anyone to posses marijuana regardless [on a Federal level]. The following is a brief summary of Hawaii laws on marijuana possession and distribution [note: these are subject to change under judicial order]:

  • Possession of less than 1oz. of marijuana is promoting detrimental drugs in the third degree, a petty misdemeanor which carries a maximum jail term of 30 days or a $1,000 fine. Possession of 1oz. [or more] of marijuana, or the distribution of any marijuana is classified as promoting a detrimental drug in the second degree, a misdemeanor which carries a maximum one year in jail or a $2,000 fine.
  • The possession of two pounds [or more] of marijuana, the distribution of one pound [or more] of marijuana, possession or cultivation of 50 [or more] marijuana plants, or the cultivation of any marijuana plant on land owned by another, or the sale of marijuana to a minor, is classified as Commercial Promotion of Marijuana in the second degree, a class B felony. The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine.
  • The possession of 25 pounds[or more] of marijuana, distribution of five pounds [or more] of marijuana, or possession of 100 [or more] marijuana plants, or cultivation of 25 marijuana plants on land owned by another person, is classified as Commercial Promotion of Marijuana in the first degree, a class A felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, or a $50,000 fine.
  • The distribution, or possession with the intent to distribute any controlled substance in, on or near schools, or school vehicles is a class C felony. The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • NOTE: Under Hawaii's Law, Medical Marijuana is legal in the state, but patients who use fall under this category must have certain qualifying illnesses, and must obtain a doctor’s recommendation to use medical marijuana, as well as register with the State Department of Public Safety to avoid criminal prosecution under state law (Federal Laws do not support this legalization).

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