Marijuana user and gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Adler stood in January near his home in Puna.

Advocate will go
to court to pick up pot

A felony sentencing, however,
will keep Adler out of this year's
race for governor

By Crystal Kua

Jonathan Adler, a Big Island medical marijuana advocate and Natural Law Party candidate for governor, has another court date Monday.

But this time, he's going there to pick up about an ounce of marijuana that a state judge has ordered returned to him.

Adler, 50, said he has an 8 a.m. appointment at Hilo District Court to pick up his "personal property" after District Judge Jeffrey Choi granted Adler's motion for the return of a Tupperware container and the marijuana. A court clerk confirmed the judge's order for return of the marijuana.

In October, Adler was jailed for missing a pretrial conference on another charge.

Adler asked police to call his wife so she could bring his legal Marinol pills, containing synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, the active substance in marijuana. But police called her to bring his "medication," and she instead mistakenly brought marijuana, which he kept in a plastic container, he said. "It was my superkiller stash."

His wife was arrested and charged for misdemeanor possession and then released. Nuan Adler was convicted July 11 of the charge and fined $25.

"Then we asked for the property to be returned, and I was told in open court by Judge Choi to file a motion and I did," Jonathan Adler said.

A hearing on the motion was held Tuesday. Adler, who holds a state medical marijuana card which allows him to possess among other things an ounce of dried marijuana for medical reasons, argued that he was the legal owner of the marijuana within the limitations allowed him by law.

"(The judge) couldn't come up with any reason to keep me from retrieving my personal property," Adler said. "The judge -- 'very reluctantly' is the term -- granted the motion and ordered the medicine in question and the Tupperware be returned."

This is the second time Adler has had marijuana given back to him by authorities.

When he was jailed in October, Adler took with him to jail a film canister containing a small amount marijuana, which along with the other belongings on him was taken away while he was in custody.

After he was released from jail, the marijuana and his other effects were returned to him.

Last month, Big Island police returned 1.5 ounces of marijuana seized during a raid in Kona to three medical marijuana users.

Adler is awaiting an Aug. 26 sentencing after a Circuit Court judge found him guilty of commercial promotion of marijuana for possessing 89 marijuana plants and marijuana paraphernalia in 1998. Adler argued he had a religious right to use the marijuana.

State election officials said they will be monitoring the case because Adler will not be able to run for office once he is sentenced for the felony.

Adler also faces a jury trial Sept. 3 for allegedly possessing 55 marijuana plants in 1999.

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