Hawaii Marijuana Activist Sues State

Hawaii Marijuana Activist Sues State as he is facing criminal charges of selling marijuana for running a now-defunct medical marijuana collective is suing in an attempt to stop the opening of state-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.

Hawaii Marijuana Activist

The suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court by Mike Ruggles of Mountain View, names as defendants Gov. David Ige, state Health Director Virginia Pressler, state Attorney General Douglas Chin, and the four companies awarded state licenses to grow and sell marijuana, and those companies’ owners.

The suit alleges the state’s medical marijuana dispensary law is a violation of federal racketeering and drug laws.

“The state cannot license people to break federal law and that’s exactly what they’ve done with these dispensaries. How does California do it? You’ll notice Act 228 (Hawaii’s medical marijuana law passed in 2000) mirrors California’s medical marijuana law word for word. Dispensaries in California are not regulated, and that’s how they get around (federal law). You see, the state cannot give citizens a license to break federal law. What they can do is ignore federal law being broke.”

The California Department of Public Health regulates the medical marijuana identification card program. Its website said the department’s medical marijuana program “does not have jurisdiction over medical marijuana cooperatives, dispensaries, or collectives. For questions related to these areas, please contact your local city or county business licensing office.”

Marijuana is still listed by the U.S. government as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which means it is against federal law to possess or distribute it. The federal government under the Obama administration has taken a hands-off approach, however, with states whose laws allow the medicinal or recreational use of marijuana. There also has not been a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on any challenges to those laws.