Medical Marijuana Legislation Advances in Hawaii

May 02, 2013

Department of Public Health, H.B. 668 C.D. 1, Hawaii, Neil Abercrombie

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.