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Hemp Seed Case in Hawai'i Dismissed


March-April 1998

In Hawai'i, Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura dismissed a 6-year-old marijuana felony indictment against hemp advocate Aaron Anderson, whose first trial ended in a hung jury (Crystal Kua, "No Retrial for Big Isle Marijuana Advocate," Hawai'i Tribune Herald (Hilo), March 5, 1998).

In October 1997, Anderson was tried on felony marijuana charges stemming from a 25-pound shipment of hemp seeds that he ordered in 1991. Law enforcement said the seeds were not sterile. Prosecutors argued that, sterile or not, the seeds fit the legal description of marijuana. The jurors were divided in favor of acquittal, 9 to 3, when a mistrial was declared in the case. The same charges against Anderson had been dismissed against Roger Christie, Anderson's former co-defendant. (See "Hemp Seed Prosecution in Hawaii Ends in Mistrial," NewsBriefs, November-December 1997.)

Anderson and Christie filed a $3 million lawsuit against the county in federal court arguing that they were targeted for prosecution because of their outspoken criticism of marijuana prohibition (Roger Christie, et al. v. G. Kay Iopa, et al., United States District Court, Hawai'i, Civil No. 95-1026 DAE). In November 1992, in regards to prosecuting Anderson and Chritie, Deputy Prosecutor Kay Iopa said, "... as a practical matter, no, we're not going to go out, bust the little old lady that's got a bag of bird seeds just because there is one marijuana seed in there [but] when you get twenty-five pounds within an order for five hundred pounds or more, going to a hemp grower, that is very vocally, very outwardly advocating the legalization of marijuana," before she was interrupted by defense counsel. Anderson and Christie allege that Iopa required that efforts to resolve their criminal case must include an agreement that the two men not write any more letters to the editors of newspapers about their views on the case. Trial in the federal civil suit is scheduled for July 14, 1998 in U.S. District Court in Honolulu.

Aaron Anderson - Route 2, Box 4875, Pahoa, HI 96778, Tel: (808) 965-0300.

Roger Christie - Tel: (808) 325-0702, E-mail: <>.

Anderson & Christie Legal Fund - Law Offices of Steven D. Strauss, P.O. Box 11517, Hilo, Hawai'i 96721, Tel: (808) 969-6684, Fax: (808) 934-8898.