Two pieces of legislation that will make changes to the state’s medical marijuana program have passed the Hawaii Legislature. Both of these bills found their way out of their respective conference committees and were approved of with bipartisan support.
H.B. 668, C.D. 1 transfers jurisdiction of the medical marijuana program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Public Health and creates a “Medical Marijuana Registry Fund” to administer the program. This noncontroversial measure means that health professionals – as opposed to law enforcement – would have control of the program. The departments are already working on the transfer, which must take place before January 1, 2015.
S.B. 642, C.D. 1 amends the medical marijuana program. The amount of usable marijuana a patient may possess is increased from three to four ounces, and the mature/immature definitions have been removed allowing patients to have seven plants at any stage. Unfortunately, the bill would also change the law to only allow a patient’s primary care physician to recommend medical marijuana. If signed, it will not take effect until January 2, 2015, and advocates will work to fix this.
If you live in Hawaii, ask Gov. Abercrombie to sign H.B. 668, C.D. 1, approving the transfer.
The Hawaii House of Representatives will soon vote on legislation that downgrades the penalty for possession of up to 20 grams of marijuana to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine.
The Senate has already passed its own version of this bill. Should the House approve S.B. 472, HD 1, a conference committee will be appointed to work out differences in the legislation before passing a final version on to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.