2020-21 Improvements and Recommendations

Hawaii saw continued growth in patient enrollment, adding 3,488 new patients since our last report. One factor that likely helped growth for Hawaii was the extended registration periods of up to 2 years that were established by the committee in 2019. Even through the pandemic, Hawaii expanded access to patients on the main island by adding a fifth dispensary bringing the total across the state to 13. Legislators in Hawaii passed Act 169 which, while promising to look ahead to adult use in Hawaii by forming a commission to study the impacts of adult use legalization on patients, unfortunately takes a step back for patients. The state’s previously low $35 annual patient registration fees have been struck in favor of fees to be set by the state health department; the same was done for the $45 registration fees for out of state patients who still have to apply for reciprocity. ASA recommends the commission use its new authority to set rates to keep them reasonable for patients and to eliminate them altogether for visiting patients. Additional recommendations include creating protections in the law against discrimination by employers in the workplace and exempting patients from discriminatory roadside sobriety testing. Finally, Hawaii should consider adopting some of the COVID measures which improved access across the country like delivery and curbside pickup as well as extending telehealth coverage to the initial certification.