Becoming a Patient in Hawai'i

A doctor or an advanced practice registered nurse may recommend marijuana to a seriously ill patient, which provides the patient with protection from criminal conviction for marijuana use under Hawaii law.[1] Hawaii also has a registry ID card system for patients that should prevent a patient from being arrested for marijuana use.[2] A primary caregiver may help a medical marijuana patient cultivate and ingest their medicine.[3]

What's Legal

The law allows a patient to have ten (10) marijuana plants, regardless of stage of maturity, and four ounces of usable marijuana at any given time.[4]  The four ounces of usable marijuana shall include any combination of usable marijuana and manufactured marijuana products.[5]  Beginning in 2023, patients may only obtain cannabis from a licensed dispensary. After 2023, no caregiver will be able to cultivate cannabis for any qualifying patient. 

Eligible Conditions

Patients may use marijuana to treat the following conditions:[6]

    1. Cancer,
    2. Glaucoma
    3. Lupus
    4. Epilepsy
    5. Multiple Sclerosis
    6. Rheumatoid Arthritis
    7. Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
    8. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)

    Chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:

    1. Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    2. Severe pain
    3. Severe nausea
    4. Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
    5. severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Chron's disease
    6. Post-traumatic stress disorder
    7. Or any other medical condition approved by the Department of health pursuant to administrative rules in response to a request from a physician or advanced practice nurse or potentially qualifying patient. 

    Application Process

    Effective January 1, 2016, all applications must be submitted electronically.  If you have been diagnosed with any of the eligible conditions and wish to become a registered medical marijuana patient in Hawaii, you should do the following:

    1. Create a free account at login.ehawaii.gov (after creating an account, you can use the following website: medmj.ehawaii.gov to login into your account);
    2. Once the account is created, complete the online application and upload any required documents (i.e. a clear copy of a valid ID);
    3. Make a payment of $38.50 ($35 application fee + $3.50 portal administration fee) which must be paid with a credit/debit card or direct withdrawal from a savings or checking account (all fees are non-refundable, even if a card is not issued); and
    4. Have your certifying physician or advanced practice registered nurse certify your medical condition and submit the application to the Department of Health.  The certifying physician or advanced practice registered nurse must complete an electronic signature agreement before they can use the new registration system.

    Physician/Advanced Practice Registered Nurse

    A licensed physician or an advanced practice registered nurse that can demonstrate a bona fide physician-patient relationship or a bona fide advanced practice nurse-patient relationship, as applicable, with a qualifying patient may recommend marijuana.[7] This recommendation is essential for becoming a patient in Hawaii. A recommendation from a physician's assistant will not protect you under Hawaii law.

    Access/Caregivers

    As a patient, you may cultivate marijuana.[8]  You may also designate a caregiver to assist you in cultivating marijuana.[9]  You and your caregiver are allowed to cultivate a total of up to seven (7) marijuana plants, regardless of stage of maturity.[10] After December 31, 2023, no primary caregiver shall be authorized to cultivate marijuana for any qualifying patient.[11] The immediately preceding sentence shall not apply to (i) a qualifying patient who is a minor or an adult lacking legal capacity and the primary caregiver is the parent, guardian or person having custody of a qualifying patient; or (ii) a qualifying patient on any island on which there is no licensed medical marijuana dispensary.[12]

    Consumption

    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.[13] Nor does the law allow you to medicate in any moving vehicle, in the workplace, on school grounds or in any public place.[14]

    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.[15] Also, your parent or guardian has to be your primary caregiver and needs to control your possession and use of marijuana.[16]

    Confidentiality

    The Department of Health will verify whether the particular qualifying patient has registered with the Department when asked by a law enforcement agency[17]. The Department may also provide reasonable access to the registry information for official law enforcement purposes.[18]

    Housing

    Under Hawaii law, “…no landlord shall refuse to lease property to or otherwise penalize, a person solely for the person’s status as a qualifying patient or primary caregiver in the medical program…unless failing to do would cause the…landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulation.”[19] This state-specific protection is afforded so long as the qualifying patient and caregiver are complying with the state’s medical marijuana program.[20]

    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.

    Employment

    The Hawaii medical marijuana law does not require your employer to accommodate your use of marijuana in the workplace.[21]

    Insurance

    The laws do not require insurance coverage for the medical use of marijuana.[22]

    Other Protections

    Hawaii law allows patients and caregivers to transport up to one gram of cannabis to a certified testing laboratory.

    Reciprocity

    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.

    Beginning on January 1, 2018, qualifying patients from other states, territories of the United States, or the District of Columbia may purchase marijuana from dispensaries within Hawaii; provided that the qualifying patients are verified as a patient in their home state and register with the Department of Health through a registration process established by the Department.[23]

    For More Information

    http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana/

    http://www.dpfhi.org/ resource for information about Hawaii drug policy and medical marijuana



    [1] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-125.

    [2] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-123.

    [3] HAR § 11-160-27.

    [4] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 329-121, 122(a)(3).

    [5] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-121.

    [6] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-121.

    [7] Haw. Rev. Stat. §§ 329-123; 126.

    [8] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-130.

    [9] HAR §§ 11-160-26, 27.

    [10] HAR § 11-160-27.

    [11] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-130.

    [12] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-130(b).

    [13] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-122(c)(1).

    [14] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-122(c)(2).

    [15] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-122(b).

    [16] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-122(b)(2).

    [17] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-123(d).

    [18] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-123(d).

    [19] Haw. Rev. Stat. §329-125.5

    [20] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-125.5

    [21] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-122(c)(2)(B).

    [22] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329-124.

    [23] Haw. Rev. Stat. § 329D-13.