Lawmakers are exploring how medical marijuana dispensaries could be set up in Hawaii. Twenty-one members of a legislative task force met Tuesday to hear more about the issue from experts. While it’s not a done deal, a task force was created to come up with recommendations on how to make medical marijuana more accessible to patients.
A state report looked at how other states manage use and distribution, and found no perfect plan for Hawaii to model itself after. It also found that taking medical marijuana between our islands is a federal crime, even though it’s within the same state.
“There are lots of gaps in the law. Hawaii has that special challenge of interstate travel,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti, head of the medical marijuana task force.
Two public hearings are scheduled to obtain public testimony on issues and concerns regarding dispensaries in Hawaii and any input on the updated Legislative Reference Bureau report.
Hilo: Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 5 p.m. at Aupuni Center
Honolulu: Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 5 p.m. at the State Capitol auditorium.
For more information and to read the report in its entirety, click here.
In 2000, the Hawaii State Legislature passed a law enabling the use of medical marijuana by qualified individuals. However, the law did not provide these individuals with a legal method of obtaining marijuana—making it illegal for patients and caregivers to get medical marijuana for legitimate use.
This year the Legislature passed HCR48, establishing under the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Public Policy Center, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force to develop recommendations to establish a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana.
The updated LRB report highlights glaring uncertainties within Hawaii’s medical marijuana program in regards to the access and transportation of medical marijuana. The program currently only allows qualifying patients to use medical marijuana, but does not provide them with any method to obtain it other than for them to grow a limited amount on their own. However, the sale of marijuana—including seeds for cultivation—remains illegal under state law. As a result qualifying patients who suffer from cancer or other debilitating diseases are unable to legally acquire medical marijuana to find relief and improve the quality of their lives.
Additionally, it is uncertain whether or to what extent a qualifying patient or caregiver may transport medical marijuana anywhere outside the home on the same island, or island to island, without violating state drug enforcement laws.
The Dispensary System Task Force will submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including proposed legislation to the 2015 Legislature.