Hawaii: Governor Signs Measures Amending State’s Medical Cannabis Program

Democrat Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday signed two separate measures into law to amend the state’s 13-year-old medical marijuana program.

House Bill 668 transfers the administration of the state’s medicinal cannabis program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Public Health. It also establishes a special fund for the program within the state treasury.

Senate Bill 642 increases the quantity of medical cannabis that may be possessed by qualified patients from three ounces to four ounces. The measure also increases the total number of mature plants that may be legally grown by qualified patients at any one time from three to seven.

A separate provision added to SB 642 in conference committee places potential limits on which physicians may be eligible to recommend cannabis, though this provision is expected to be further debated in the 2014 legislative session.

Stated Vanessa Chong, Executive Director of the ACLU of Hawaii, which was a primary advocate for the bills: “In 2000, Hawaii led the nation as the first state to legislatively establish our medical marijuana program. Now, a total of 18 states plus Washington, D.C. have programs. Finally, 13 years down the road, Hawaii is moving toward patient-focused policies and away from a law enforcement approach. These bills do not address every concern, but are the first real steps toward a more sensible public policy — we are encouraged and will redouble our efforts next legislative session.”

Advocates are expected to push in 2014 for the establishment of state-sponsored cannabis production and dispensing facilities, which are now operational in several other states, including Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Vermont. According to a 2012 QMark Research poll, 78 percent of Hawaii voters support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.

The changes in law will become effective in January 2015.

8 thoughts

  1. Hawaii had been breaking down barriers and paving the path for other states to adopt and integrate similar policies. Go Governor Abercrombie!

  2. In the country where Marijuana grows wild, natives stay calm. How have world’s eldest medicine, traditionally practiced today, and Cannabis evolved side by side?
    This is my experience from 2 years of backpacking remote villages and towns across India: http://jpgmag.com/stories/19402

  3. ” more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our public policies should reflect this reality, not deny it.”

    Why do you deny another reality? The one I posted here as my comment, based on 2 years of living and observing that reality across India, which you have deleted.

  4. Is there a lack of ink pen’s in Illinois and New Hampshire? What’s the hold up on these two governor’s signing there states Medical Marijuana bills? Our they following the Democratic party line not to piss off Obumer.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The New Hampshire legislature would have only been transmitted to the Governor, at the earliest, today. She has stated publicly that she will sign the bill. By contrast, in Illinois, the Governor has indeed been sitting on the bill for many weeks. Illinois residents/voters should continue to be contacting/pressuring Gov. Quinn to sign HB 01, which they can do here: http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/51046/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=9904.%5D

  5. The medical marijuana law is good for the ones who legitimately need it. However there are those who use the law as a front for dealing the drug to any Tom, Dick and harry that wants to get high! There should be heavy jail time and/or fines for those who abuse the system. The law should also address this issue because it is a matter of fact not a mere possibility.

  6. Unless you have a chronic health condition or care for someone suffering or watched someone die slowly in pain, that could / could have benefitted from the health and quality of life benefits this medicinal herb can provide, it may too difficult to support the trend of legalization. I fear the stigma put in place on weed after prohibition was abolished for alcohol will be a hard one to overcome. Legalize marijuana and you will not only begin to see society benefit on a medical level, but you will take the profit from the drug cartels and put it into our tax coffers. We all have choices to make in life, I hope we can choose to be compassionate. Look at the stories of sufferers on the web, there are many more out there not aware of the relief they could get and suffer second after agonizing second with no real solution in sight. Real medical regulation, prescription, and research can address all of the concerns – and the industry could potentially fund itself from legitimate patient use. We need positive change now. – Mahalo. ps: I am not a user. I have cared for those that died in great pain and could have benefitted, if the medicinal herb was legal.

  7. Cannabis, including hemp will be legal just like tomatoes & celery in just a few years. We are laughing now at the corporations & politicians who manipulated the tax and farming permits in the mid 1930’s to control the competition with nylon & the paper industry. Colorado & Washington state are enjoying being ahead of the natural progression of the cannabis movement with its recreational laws. Canada, our clever neighbors are loving the profits of all the imported hempseed products in the American retail stores. It seem to me that the law enforcers are loosing their credibility, even relationships with their family and friends are in chaos & weak due to their hipocracy. I find that the whole issue is a joke that have been taken seriously because everyone involved in keeping it controlled is a sad case of a spiritually poor human being. Meanwhile, those that are devoting & risking some effort to legalize cannabis are just expressing the freedom of nature that comes from within. Aloha.

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