HILO, Hawai'i -- A minister and former mayoral candidate who says he
grows marijuana for religious and medical purposes called himself a
victim of "Big Island political persecution" following his indictment
Wednesday on eight felony drug counts.

Jonathan Adler, 49, of Puna, already is awaiting trial Aug. 20 for
second-degree promotion of marijuana from a 1998 arrest.

The latest grand jury indictment charges him with commercial promotion
of marijuana, six counts of promoting a detrimental drug and one count
of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Adler, who ran for mayor twice and also tried for a seat on the Hawai'i
County Council, believes his outspokenness about citizens' rights to use
marijuana for medical and religious reasons has made him a target for
prosecution.

"I operate a healing ministry" said Adler, a minister in the The
Religion of Jesus Church, which uses marijuana as a sacrament. The
church started on Kaua'i and later moved to Kona and the east side of
the Big Island.

"There is no crime on my property, except that created by the police,"
Adler claimed yesterday.

He said the latest charges stem from a Dec. 23, 1999, visit by an
undercover officer who lied to him about being a member of the church
and about needing relief for back pain.

Adler has been a highly visible advocate for marijuana legalization for
more than a decade. He was among those who sought to impeach former
Mayor Steven Yamashiro and the majority of the council members in 1999
over county drug enforcement policies.


Newshawk: Be a Newshawk - http://www.mapinc.org/hawk.htm
Pubdate: Fri, 13 Jul 2001
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2001 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Contact: letters@honoluluadvertiser.com
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/195
Website: http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/
Author: Hugh Clark
Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n871/a01.html &
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1261/a11.html