On June 14th, Governor Benjamin Cayetano (D), signed into law a bill that protects seriously ill patients who use marijuana medically from local and state criminal prosecution. Gov. Cayetano said he hopes Hawaii can become the "health care center of the Pacific" and more states will follow Hawaii's lead in legalizing medical marijuana.
The Hawaii legislature becomes the first state legislature to legalize marijuana for medical purposes; the other six states that have legalized medical use have done so via voter initiatives.
The law allows for the medical use of marijuana with a doctor's recommendation, for patients who suffer from such medical conditions as cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, a chronic or debilitating disease, wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, seizures, severe muscle spasms including multiple sclerosis, or any other medical condition approved by the department of health.
Patients are allowed to possess no more than three mature marijuana plants, four immature plants and one ounce of smokable marijuana per each mature plant. Patients and their primary caregivers will be required to register annually with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety which has some medical marijuana activists concerned.
Donald Topping, president of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, said the law is a big step for Hawaii, but the bill has its shortcomings, such as the register.
"I think registration should be with the Department of Health rather than the Department of Safety," Topping said.
For more information, please contact Donald Topping, President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii at (808) 637-9822.