Now that SB 321 passed the legislature, and Gov. David Ige didn’t include it on his list of vetoed bills, what has changed in the medical marijuana law in Hawaii? Hawaii’s legislature legalized medical marijuana 14 years ago, so what’s the problem?
In fact, a lot. Until now, cardholders trying to obtain marijuana have faced a legal / medical mystery. If you weren’t growing your own marijuana, which might be difficult for some sick and disabled patients at best, then you had to rely on a caregiver or on the illegal black market. But the new law finally lays the foundation for dispensaries and cultivation facilities in the state.
Here’s what you need to know about Hawaii’s new marijuana law.
Puff puff passes! Pot is now legalized in Hawaii, right?
Marijuana was legalized in 2000 for medical purposes by Law 228, signed by then-governor Ben Cayetano. But this bill left a gray area as to how patients were supposed to get their drugs. The law stipulated that disabled and sick cardholders had to develop their own card or appoint a caregiver for the process. But the new law establishes a system for medicinal marijuana dispensaries. If you don’t have a medical card and have less than an ounce of marijuana, then under current law this is a misdemeanor penalty with a fine of up to $ 1,000 and 30 days of imprisonment possible.
Fresh! So when will my neighborhood clinic open?
The new law allows for eight separate licenses in the state. These permits are island specific: three on Oahu, two on the island of Hawaii, two on Maui, and one on Kauai. There is no provision for dispensaries on Molokai or Lanai at this time. Each license allows for two cultivation facilities and two dispensary locations. These retail facilities and stores are subject to local zoning laws and should not be located near playgrounds, schools, or public housing.
They must also be kept clear of any federally owned road or national park. Let’s say your grow facility is in one location and your dispensary is in another – you can’t take a federal road in between, or sit them near a federal facility or park. In any case, the law authorizes operators to open from July 15, 2016.
It sounds like a big business. Where can I get a license request?
Applications will be available to the public on January 11, 2016 and can be returned from January 12 to 29, 2016. So far, we do not know what the application will look like or what the process will be, but the Ministry of Health of the The State (DoH) will release more information on January 4, 2016.
What we do know is that anyone and anyone who applies for it cannot have any felony convictions. The requesting entity must also have an escrow of at least $ 1.2 million for at least 90 days before submitting its request. They will also need to disclose the total percentage of the license held by lawful residents of Hawaii, how long each person has started lawful residence in Hawaii, criminal background checks, business licenses, and the addresses of all applicant entities. Additionally, 51% of the entity must be owned by residents of Hawaii.
The app itself won’t be cheap, either. The fees begin with a non-refundable amount of $ 5,000. Upon approval, the state will receive an additional $ 75,000. License fees are set to be renewed at $ 50,000 per year.
Wow. That’s a lot of kala to find. Why is it so expensive?
The process will establish a new agency within the DoH. The high cost of licenses also (pun intended) eliminates any fluffy applicants. According to Mike Patterson, CEO of US Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development, “the process of creating claims alone could cost up to $ 200,000 and require up to 66,000 pages of documents.”
Alright, I think I have what it takes for a license. How will the DoH choose the candidates?
The DoH says it will make its decisions based on merit. The winning combination shows that the applicant has the ability to operate a business, financial stability, access to resources, compliance with the safety requirements set by the Department of Health, the ability to meet the needs of eligible patients and the ability to meet inventory control requirements. as well as pass criminal background checks. But remember: applications and full details of the selection process will not be available until January 4, 2016.
What types of diseases will marijuana treat?
In Hawaii, the diseases that can be treated with medical marijuana are specified in law. They include epilepsy, cancer, glaucoma, HIV, MS, nausea, cachexia, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The law also allows you to ask the DoH for additions to this list.
I have severe chronic pain. Can my doctor prescribe marijuana?
No. Additionally, marijuana will not be covered by insurance either. The process for obtaining your minor marijuana medical use certification has recently changed. The requests went from the Anti-Narcotics Division of the Ministry of Public Security to the Directorate of STD / AIDS Prevention of the Ministry of Health (view them online at Health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana)
“The program has been run for 14 years by Public Safety and was only handed over to the Department of Health this year,” says Peter Whiticar, head of the STD / AIDS Prevention Directorate, in a video posted on the DoH website. “Some patients and many members of the community thought that [Narcotics Enforcement Division] was not the appropriate placement for a program that facilitates access to legal marijuana in a department whose mission is to suppress drug use. That is why people thought it should be transferred to the Ministry of Health to be more focused on public health. “
How long does it take to get a medical marijuana use card?
According to Scottina Malia Ruis, coordinator of the medical marijuana registry at the Ministry of Health, new requests are processed in 4 to 6 weeks. However, if you have an incomplete request, it will be returned to you and your request will be put last when returned. The website Medicalmarijuanaofhawaii.org describes a backlog of applications sent to the DoH. The only number available for information from the Department of Health on medical marijuana is a hotline with recorded information that redirects callers to the website for more information.
How do I get an application if I don’t have a computer or printer?
Most of the doctors I have spoken with and their voicemail recordings say you need to go to their websites to print the forms out before you see your doctor. Medical marijuana laws are built on a strong relationship between doctor and patient. Scottina Malia Ruis, coordinator of the medical marijuana registry at the Ministry of Health, clarifies that “All requests are processed and submitted by doctors and / or their office staff. Patients are unable to submit requests – only change forms. Ruis also states that if you have a question regarding your request “you should contact your doctor or you can call 733-2164 if your doctor is not able to help you.”
I am a caregiver who grows medical marijuana for a patient. Will I be able to sell my medicine to a dispensary?
No, not under the current law. The dispensary and the cultivation facility are all one operation, managed under one license. Additionally, caregivers will have to stop cultivating drugs by December 31, 2018, but some caregivers will be exempt from this phase-out.
I am planning a vacation in Hawaii and have a legal medical marijuana card issued by my home state. Where can I buy my medicine?
It’s not known at this time, but out-of-state cardholders will eventually be able to purchase their medication, but not until January 1, 2018. Happy New Year! Of course, the Department of Health has yet to create the reciprocity program, so we do not yet know what you will need to register or participate.
No tampons or wax? What types of products are allowed in dispensaries?
The law specifies capsules, lozenges, pills, oils, oil extracts, tinctures, ointments, and skin lotions, in addition to marijuana. It specifically bans butane-based products, also known as butane wax or hash oil. There is also an article in the law for “other products” specified by the Department of Health, so if there is an additional article or a preferred method of taking marijuana drugs, people can request that. .
I grow my own medicine. Do I have to buy medicine at dispensaries?
No, your right to grow your own medicine remains intact.
Are there limits to the amount of medicine I can buy at a dispensary?
The limit is four ounces every 15 consecutive days or 8 ounces every 30 consecutive days.
Hey, I have a bud pruning business. Can I offer my services to grow facilities?
Yes, the law allows licensees to outsource work like pruning flowers and other cannabis processing companies. There will also be an ancillary market for accounting, engineering, architecture, legal and laboratory services, transportation and security.
A Big Mahalo at Cannabiz magazine found on http://thecannabizreview.com/ for the flower and help with the medical marijuana photo shoot. They are also on instagram at @thecannabizreview on instagram.
Other resources on medical cannabis:
Hawaii Medical Cannabis Coalition
State Department of Health Medical Cannabis Registry
Department of Health Departments
Follow the bill through the legislature
Transfer and Upgrade of the Medical Marijuana Registration Program
About Marijuana Wax Products:
Law Enforcement FAQs
Take a look at the law from a medical marijuana cardholder’s perspective
Sunrise Analysis, Medical Marijuana Dispensary Regulation – Board of Governors Audit Report