Advocates Hail Measure to Modernize Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Law

Patient advocates celebrated the signing of two bills to improve Hawaii’s 13-year-old medical marijuana program – the first updates to pass the legislature since the program began.

Approved Tuesday were measures to move program oversight away from the Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED) and to the Department of Health (DOH), and to adjust the type and amount of medical marijuana a patient can legally possess.

HB 668 CD1 moves oversight of the program to the DOH, a move welcomed by advocates as both symbolic and substantive.

HB 668 will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015, giving time for the transition between departments to occur.

SB 642 CD1 increases the amount of medical marijuana a patient or caregiver can grow and possess. Lawmakers also added a provision requiring that only a patient’s primary care physician can certify them for eligibility, but later clarified that people covered in the federal system (e.g. military dependents at Tripler) and those seeing specialist physicians will still have access to Hawaii’s medical marijuana program.

This measure will also take effect in 2015 – one day later than HB 668.

– Read the entire article at Hawaii 24/7.