Medical marijuana patients visiting Hawaii will soon be able to get their medicine while traveling. A new change introduced by lawmakers will provide a way for out of state visitors to buy and possess medical marijuana while in the state. However, there will still be an application process, as well as a number of restrictions, that patients will need to follow.
Not All Medical Marijuana Patients Qualify
The Hawaii Department of Health is now preparing a program that will make it possible for out of state visitors to access medical marijuana. The new program is slated to go into effect next year.
When it does, non-Hawaii residents can go to a specialized website. There, they apply for a temporary medical marijuana card.
In order to qualify for the temporary card, the applicant needs to be a valid medical marijuana patient. Most importantly, that includes having one of Hawaii’s qualifying medical conditions.
Currently, you must have a “debilitating condition” to qualify for medical marijuana. This is true whether you’re a Hawaii resident or an out of state visitor.
Qualifying conditions include things like:
- multiple sclerosis
- rheumatoid arthritis
- and several others.
After completing the application, patients will then be required to pay a $45 application fee. That fee also comes with a small $4.50 processing fee.
From there, once a patient receives their temporary card they will be able to purchase medical marijuana at any of the state’s dispensaries.
Currently, there are six dispensaries in Hawaii. There are three dispensaries on Oahu, two dispensaries on Maui, and one more dispensary on Kauai. Additionally, authorities have approved two medical marijuana businesses on the island of Hawaii. So far, these operations have not yet opened.
Hawaii and Cannabis
The change is the latest addition to Hawaii’s cannabis laws. To date, recreational use remains illegal in the state.
But medical marijuana is a different story. Back in 2000, then governor Ben Cayetano signed At 228 into law. Under that law, it is legal for certified medical marijuana patients to grow their own cannabis plants. Alternatively, they can also have an appointed caretaker grow it for them.
Despite this law, the state did not have any sort of medical marijuana retail program until 2016. That year, the state passed a new law. This one established a brand new dispensary program in the state.
Following the passage of this law, state lawmakers began accepting applications from dispensary owner hopefuls. As per the terms of the new law, they licensed eight dispensaries.
Currently, six of the eight are fully operational. It is unclear exactly when the last two dispensaries will begin operating.
In the meantime, Hawaii’s cannabis laws continue to evolve thanks to this most recent change. Along with the application fee, the biggest restriction on out of state patients is the qualifying conditions.
After announcing the new program for out of state visitors, officials said they expect it to be a fairly popular program. According to the Los Angeles Times, they predict at least 5,000 out of state, with that number growing to around 30,000 every year.