Thursday, January 3, 2002

Green Party ponders
letting pot advocate
be their candidate

Jonathan Adler wants to represent
the party in a run for governor

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> The state Green Party will tell Big Island marijuana advocate Jonathan Adler before the end of the month whether he can run for governor as a Green, said party Co-chairman Ira Rohter.

Adler, 49, ran unsuccessfully for Big Island offices three times as a nonpartisan and announced last summer he would run again as a nonpartisan, this time for governor.

He switched to the Green Party, and on Dec. 24 he received confirmation that the Greens had received his application for membership and his request to be nominated for governor.

Rohter said the party has 30 days to give Adler an answer, until about Jan. 24.

Adler is usually identified with his marijuana advocacy.

"It usually comes back like a spider web," Rohter said. "All roads lead to the one issue."

But in answering a Green questionnaire, Adler said his three main issues are taxation -- he wants higher taxes on "those who benefit the most" in society; education -- he would lower building costs by using pre-engineered steel buildings, which he sells; and the environment -- he would reduce pollution by burning waste.

In August, Adler was tried for possessing 89 marijuana plants in 1998, but a mistrial was declared when the jury deadlocked.

A retrial will begin Jan. 22 without a jury, with Judge Greg Nakamura considering the legal issue of whether the state has a "compelling interest" to limit Adler's religious use of marijuana.

If Adler wins that case, a second case set for trial Feb. 19, involving 55 plants in 1999, could be moot.

Rohter said the Green Party has no official position on marijuana legalization, but some members might object to Adler's marijuana advocacy.

"Some people would say it's the kiss of death," he said.

The party has the right not to accept Adler as a candidate, even though no other Green may be running for governor, he said.

In 2000 a Big Island judge ruled in favor of the Green Party and disqualified Darryl "Buck" Wheat from running for mayor as a Green because he had not joined the party in time to qualify as a candidate and because he had not undergone party review.

Three other candidates were also rejected by the Green Party, Rohter said: Gregory Goodwin on Kauai and Edwina Wong on Oahu, who both wanted to run for governor in 1994, and comedian Kaui Hill, known as Bu Laia, on Oahu, who wanted to run as governor in 1998.

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