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Getting Started…

Cannabis is illegal under federal law. This includes [cannabis_tooltip style=”tipsy” position=”north” content=”Slang term created by law enforcement to demonize the plant.”]Medical Marijuana[/cannabis_tooltip]. State laws created in Hawaii’s Controlled Substances Act 329 and Act 241 which creates a new medical marijuana program for law enforcement, dispensary owners and patients.[/cannabis_column]
New patients seeking legal access to Cannabis will need to have a health condition that’s approved by the Hawaii State Department of Health.
Cannabis in Hawaii is not legal. State laws only authorize licensed patients to an affirmative defense. This means if you are caught possessing, consuming, distributing or being in the presence of Cannabis and you are found to be in strict compliance with all laws and conditions of the Hawaii State Department of Health you can claim in court that you were authorized via license. If you are not in compliance your affirmative defense is denied and you cannot use the fact that you were a patient in court. We’re not aware of any court cases where a licensed patient was permitted by a judge to use their affirmative defense.

[cannabis_box title=”Penalties for Patients, Caregivers, Doctors, Judges, Mayors, Parents, Teachers, Kids” style=”glass” box_color=”#f1f1f1″ title_color=”#000000″]The penalty for possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000. Penalties for “sharing” less than an ounce with a patient for example would be “Distribution of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.” Discovery of marijuana in a vehicle may result in each occupant being charged with possession unless the marijuana was found on an occupant’s person or was in a compartment accessible only by occupants of that seat. Federal sentencing guidelines are much stricter. –Norml.org Hawaii-Penalties[/cannabis_box]

Read a Brief Synopsis of Cannabis’ Legal Status in Hawaii from the Marijuana Policy Project

Determine if you are eligible.

  1. Do you have a debilitating medical condition as identified in the law?
  2. Do you have a physician willing to certify your condition and assist you with the application process?  If not, you may contact the Drug Policy Forum (DPF).  The DPF is compiling a third party list of physicians that may be able to assist you.  For the time being, you can email info@nulldpfhi.org.
  3. Do you have a valid ID (driver’s license, state ID or passport)?

If you do not have a Hawaii State Department of Health approved, debilitating health condition you will need to move to a state where your health condition is approved or Cannabis has is legal.

If you have a Cannabis-treatable disease that is not on the list and you cannot move to a state where you can legally treat your disease you may petition the Hawaii State Department of Health. They have outlined a process for adding a new debilitating medical condition that is not currently stated in the law. However, as of January the process is not available to Doctors or Patients.

If you have a Cannabis-treatable disease that is on the list you should check with your Doctor to learn about dosage recommendations. Other Patients may also assist in helping you learn and understand how THC, THCA, THCV and more than 200 other cannabinoids interact with your symptoms to treat your particular disease.

You may find help identifying a strain that is known to be helpful on the chart below. Note: Leafly are a source of information for strains and their benefits.

Cannabinoid Wheel


Now the good news…

If your condition is approved and your dosage recommendation is within state legal limits (no more than 4 ounces of buds or concentrated equivalent in any 15 day period), then you’re ready to find a “Certifying Physician”.  They will see you, ask you questions and assess your condition. If they believe your condition falls within the State Health Department’s approved conditions, you may be given a temporary letter indicating you have been seen, diagnosed and have applied for a medical marijuana license. This letter is not protection from the law. Only your official 329 card is legal proof that you are a licensed patient according to the Hawaii State Department of Health.


The Costs

The Certifying Physician will charge for the office visit, $100.00-$300.00. The State of Hawaii will charge around $38.50 ($35 application fee + $3.50 portal administration fee. The law, rules, processes, guidelines and anything that could make your life more difficult as a patient will appear on the State Health Department’s website. You must know and follow the law.

If the Hawaii State Department of Health grants you a license, you may receive your license card at the address you wrote on your application within 4-12 weeks. You must follow up with the Health Department if your card has not arrived in the first month. This is the process other patients have used to remind the department that your license has been submitted.

Follow program rules and the law.

  1. One caregiver per patient; one patient per caregiver.
  2. One grow site per registered patient.
  3. No more than 10 marijuana plants, jointly between a registered patient and caregiver (ALL plants must be tagged).
  4. No more than 4 ounces of usable marijuana, jointly between a registered patient and caregiver.
  5. Do not use medical marijuana in a way that endangers the health or well-being of another person.
  6. Do not use medical marijuana for purposes other than medical use as permitted by law.
  7. Do not use medical marijuana in any moving vehicle, at any workplace, on any school grounds, or in any other public place (including public parks, beaches, recreation centers).
  8. Put a tag or other identification maker with the 329 Card Number AND Expiration Date at the base of every medical marijuana plant so they can be more easily identified as legal.  In the recently approved DOH Administrative Rules, “the person who has been designated to cultivate marijuana shall have a legible identification tag on each marijuana plant being cultivated for the qualifying patient”.   All plants must be tagged accordingly. Read Tagging Guidelines.