Vacationing in Hawaii just got a lot cooler – not that it wasn’t already.
Earlier this week, Hawaii’s Department of Health announced a new 10-minute, online process that allows for out-of-state cannabis users to get medical marijuana in the island. So, if you’re a patient who qualifies for medical marijuana somewhere else in the U.S. – continental and territories, all you’ll need to do to receive a temporary medical marijuana card is fill out an online application up to 60 days in advance of your trip, and pay a $49.50 fee.
Once you arrive in Hawaii, you’ll be able to use this electronic registration card, known as the 329-V card, to purchase marijuana in all licensed medical cannabis retailers over a period of 60 consecutive days. Today, patients from Washington, D.C., 32 U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal, and four U.S. territories, can apply for a temporary medical marijuana card in Hawaii – although I’ve heard a few among these 32 states might not allow their patients to do so.
Patients will only be able to apply twice per year.
Interestingly, purchase limits are unusually high, at 4 ounces, or 113 grams of cannabis, every 15 days. For reference, 2017 figures out of Statistics Canada reveled the average Canadian cannabis consumer used a little bit more than 20 grams of weed in a year.
‘Vital For Patients’
The Hawaii Educational Association for Therapeutic Healthcare (HEALTH), the state’s trade association for licensed dispensaries, supported this new Department of Health initiative. When prompted about the issue, HEALTH executive director Pedro Haro told me, “Hawaii’s new Visiting Patient Program is an important milestone in providing qualified out-out-state patients with safe access to the state’s world-class licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Approved visiting patients no longer need to be anxious about if they’ll be able to legally obtain their medical cannabis medication in Hawaii and instead can focus on enjoying their experience in the Aloha state.”
Adding to these comments, Morgan Fox, media relations director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) said, “Reciprocity for medical cannabis programs is absolutely vital for patients, and a great benefit for providers. Lack of access to their medicine can severely limit the places that patients can travel, and there is no reason that they should not be able to live a normal life while traveling in a state where medical cannabis is legal. Economically, this is good for dispensaries in a given state, but also for all the businesses that patients may shop at while visiting those states. Hawaii, being a tourist destination, will now be able to accommodate medical cannabis patients from the other states where their medicine is legal.”
By means of conclusion, Tom Angell, publisher of Marijuana Moment and Forbes contributor said, “Medical cannabis patients shouldn’t have to go without their medicine while on vacation or on business trips,” qualifying the decision as a “commonsense move.” In his view, expanding medical cannabis programs to include reciprocity considerations “is just one way we’re seeing states moving to expand existing programs. Others include adding new qualifying conditions or allowing new forms of consumption.”
The small print: To be eligible, visiting patients need a valid medical registration card from a U.S. state or territory and a valid government-issued photo ID from the same state. Finally, patients applying for the temporary card must use cannabis for one or more of the qualifying conditions recognized by Hawaii.