Longtime hemp activists Roger Christie and Aaron Anderson have filed a civil lawsuit against County prosecutor Jay Kimura and Deputy Prosecutor Kay Lopa alleging that they were unlawfully and selectively prosecuted for expressing their opinions regarding marijuana.
Christie and Anderson’s suit maintains that the two were selectively prosecuted by Iopa in 1992 for possessing apparently sterile hemp seeds. The seeds had been imported from China as birdseed in compliance with both state and federal laws. Charges of “commercial promotion of marijuana” against Christie were dismissed earlier this year, but the case against Anderson is still pending.
The duo’s lawsuit asserts that they were singled out primarily for their outspoken beliefs regarding the positive uses for hemp. Christie and Anderson note that while similar hemp seeds are available and commonly sold in stores in Hawaii, they were the only individuals targeted by prosecutors.
Specifically, the suit alleges that prosecutors violated Christie’s and Anderson’s constitutional rights to “freely speak, petition their government, and be free from unjust government oppression.”
The suit also alleges that Iopa misrepresented the facts against Christie and Anderson. In 1992, police sent 800 seeds to the state Department of Agriculture for germination tests. According to Christie and Anderson, the report said that there was zero germination. However, the activists maintain that Iopa told the county grand jury, the Circuit Court, and the Hawaii Supreme Court that 6 to 9 percent of the seeds germinated.
“Our lawsuit underscores the new energy in the hemp movement,” states Christie. “We seek to make this the last marijuana trial in Hawaii.” Christie and Anderson are seeking $3 million in damages.
For more information on Christie and Anderson’s lawsuit, please contact Roger Christie at (808) 961-0488 or Attorney Steven Straus, Esq. at (808)969-6684.