Crystal methamphetamine, commonly known as crystal meth or ice, is the most widely used illegal drug in Hawaii. Users and distributors of the drug have been targeted by multifaceted and intense federal, state and local law enforcement efforts.
Meth-related offenses carry with them increasingly severe penalties and harsh sentences that have developed over time:
- In 1988, Haw. Rev. Stat. §712-1249.6 made the offense of promoting a controlled substance in or near schools a Class C felony.
- School vehicles were added to this law in 1991 and public parks were added in 2003.
- In 2004, the legislature amended §712-1249.6 to make it a Class A felony to manufacture meth within 750 feet of a school or public park.
- In 2012, the legislature amended the statute once again to include public housing projects. It is now a Class A felony to manufacture meth within a certain distance of any public housing complex and a Class C felony to distribute meth within a certain distance of public housing.
According to a recent study, Hawaii has the highest percent of crystal meth use among those in the workforce compared with the rest of the nation. However, there has been an estimated decline of 26 percent in crystal meth usage since 2006.
One theory proposed to explain the prevalence of meth use is the combination of Hawaii's service sector economy and high cost of living. Many people turn to meth for a competitive edge in an increasingly competitive and weakened economy.
Employees often take the drug in an attempt to work harder at multiple jobs for longer hours. This is especially true where the person is engaged in repetitive, mind-numbing work. However, meth use is found among professionals such as doctors as well.
If you have been accused of an offense related to crystal meth, you need diligent and effective representation. Consult a Hawaii defense attorney who can protect and defend your rights.