Pot package results in fine

LIHU‘E — A Lihu‘e woman got a break in 5th Circuit Court with a deferred sentence Monday on marijuana charges.

The state agreed to drop four charges when Karen Rae Ouye-Selbe pleaded no contest on May 8 to second-degree promotion of a harmful drug.

County Second Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Samuel Jajich said the state would agree to Ouye-Selbe’s motion to defer acceptance of no contest plea. He said there is no relevant criminal background and recommended one year probation and a fine.

Ouye-Selbe, 61, was arrested Sept. 28 for two counts of drug paraphernalia, first-degree promotion of a harmful drug, second-degree promotion of a harmful drug, second-degree promotion of a detrimental drug.

Private attorney Michael Soong said that Ouye-Selbe received a package and without knowing its contents opened it to discover items that included marijuana and foods, sweets, lotions and other items containing marijuana concentrates. She closed the package back up and the police arrived soon after, he said.

Ouye-Selbe intended to use the products even though she wasn’t expecting them, and that is why she took responsibility in this matter, Soong said. Since her arrest he said Ouye-Selbe has applied for and obtained a medical marijuana permit for chronic pain in Hawai‘i and Colorado.

Judge Kathleen N. A. Watanabe said the lack of a criminal record weighed in the sentencing and agreed to the terms of the plea bargain and did not believe jail was appropriate in this matter. She sentenced Ouye-Selbe to a year of probation, a $500 fine and a substance abuse assessment and any recommended treatment.

Watanabe said if Ouye-Selbe follows the terms of probation the charge will be wiped from her record in one year. She said that a violation of the terms could result in revocation of probation and a possible one-year in jail for the misdemeanor offense.

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