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Becoming a Medical Marijuana Patient in Hawaii

David Bowman

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A doctor may recommend marijuana to a seriously ill patient, providing the patient with protection from criminal conviction for marijuana use under Hawaii law. Hawaii also has a registry ID card system for patients which should ordinarily prevent a patient from being arrested for marijuana use. A primary caregiver may help a medical marijuana patient cultivate and ingest their medicine.

What's Legal
The law allows a patient to have three mature marijuana plants, four immature marijuana plants, and one ounce of usable marijuana per each mature plant (note: as of Jan. 1 2015 the plan limit will change to 7 total live plans, regardless of stage of maturity). These limitations apply to the total amount of medicine possessed between a patient and caregiver.

Eligible Conditions
Patients may use marijuana to treat the following conditions:
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
  • Severe pain
  • Severe nausea
  • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
  • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn's disease
  • Any other medical condition approved by the department of health
As of Jan. 1, 2015, a patient may only obtain a recommendation from their primary care physician.

Application Process
If you have been diagnosed with any of the above shown conditions and wish to become a registered medical marijuana patient in Hawaii, you should do the following:
  • Ask your doctor to request a written certification form from the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Department of Public Safety at (808) 837-8470;
  • Send the completed certification form along with a copy of the your photo ID and a check for the registration fee ($25 for you as patient plus $25 for your caregiver if you have one) to the following address:
    Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED)
    3375 Koapaka St., Suite D-100
    Honolulu, HI 96819
A licensed physician may recommend marijuana. This recommendation is essential for becoming a patient in Hawaii. A recommendation from a physician's assistant will not protect you under Hawaii law. As of Jan. 1, 2015, only a patient's primary care physician may provide a valid written recommendation for medical marijuana.

As a patient, you may cultivate marijuana. You may also designate a caregiver to assist you in cultivating marijuana. You and your caregiver are allowed to cultivate a total of up to three mature marijuana plants and four immature marijuana plants.

The Hawaii medical marijuana law does not allow a patient to medicate if it in any way endangers the health or well-being of another person. Nor does the law allow you to medicate in a moving vehicle, in the workplace, on school grounds, in a public place, in a correctional facility, or in any state monitored facility.

Age Limits
If you are a minor, you need a statement by your parent or guardian that your doctor has explained the risks and benefits of marijuana. Also, your parent or guardian has to be your primary caregiver and needs to control your possession and use of marijuana.

The department of public safety will verify whether the particular qualifying patient has registered with the department when asked by a law enforcement agency. The department may also provide access to the registry information for official law enforcement purposes. If a patient has any questions regarding the confidentiality of their status as a medical marijuana patient, they should contact the Dept. of Public Safety at (808)-837-8470.

The law says nothing explicit about housing rights for patients or designated providers. However, the Hawaii medical marijuana law does say that if you meet the requirements of the law, then you "shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege,"Â for the medical use of marijuana.

We believe this means that, under state law, a qualifying patient or caregiver may not lose their right to housing as a result of legally using or providing medical marijuana. Please remember, though, that while our belief that you are protected is based on our reading of the statute and case law, there is no existing Hawaii case law that specifically addresses the (non-federally-funded) housing rights of patients.

If you live in housing funded by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Hawaii law will not protect you and you may be subject to eviction, as medical marijuana is not protected under federal law.

The Hawaii medical marijuana law does not require your employer to accommodate your use of marijuana in the workplace.

The laws do not require insurance coverage for the medical use of marijuana.

Hawaii does not currently recognize medical marijuana certifications from other states. If you are not a certified medical marijuana patient in Hawaii, you are not protected as a patient in Hawaii, even if you are protected in other states.

Source: ASA: Becoming a Patient in Hawaii


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