The Hawaii Department of Pubic Safety will change its verbal and written guidelines regarding medical marijuana — and begin complying with an 11-year-old statute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii announced Tuesday.
The ACLU says the move will reverse several heavy-handed and prohibitive requirements imposed by the department, which oversees Hawaii’s jails and prisons, and provides law enforcement at state facilities, including court houses and airports.
Hawaii’s Attorney General David Louie stated that DPS will no longer prohibit physicians who prescribe medical marijuana from performing house calls, according to an ACLU press release. DPS will also harmonize reporting requirements and penalties for non-compliance so that medical cannabis is treated the same as other controlled substances.
The new guidelines are being changed to comply with the state’s medical cannabis statute — albeit about a decade late.
The issue came to light after Keith Kamita, deputy director of the DPS’s Narcotics Enforcement Division, erroneously told a doctor that house calls were not permitted under state law when marijuana was prescribed, according to the ACLU. The ACLU also alleges that the Narcotics Enforcement Division imposed special registration requirements on physicians prescribing medical cannabis.
“Hawaii’s medical cannabis law was established to help doctors alleviate the suffering of very ill and dying patients,” said ACLU of Hawaii Senior Staff Attorney Daniel Gluck in the release. “In implementing this law, the Legislature chose to allow DPS to oversee the program, which has led to eleven years of administrators applying a criminal control model to a public health issue.”
Stay Up To Date On The Coronavirus And Other Hawaii Issues