A new report from the Legislative Reference Bureau highlights “glaring uncertainties” within Hawaii’s medical marijuana program.
In particular, the report — titled “Is the Grass Always Greener? An Updated Look at Other State Medical Marijuana Programs” — raises concerns regarding access to and transportation of medical marijuana in the islands
“The program currently only allows qualifying patients to use medical marijuana, but does not provide them with any method to obtain it other than for them to grow a limited amount on their own,” according to a press release today from the House of Representatives.
The release adds, “However, the sale of marijuana — including seeds for cultivation — remains illegal under state law. As a result qualifying patients who suffer from cancer or other debilitating diseases are unable to legally acquire medical marijuana to find relief and improve the quality of their lives.”
State Rep. Della Au Belatti.
PF Bentley/Civil Beat
The release explains that it is “uncertain whether or to what extent a qualifying patient or caregiver may transport medical marijuana anywhere outside the home on the same island, or island to island, without violating state drug enforcement laws.”
The LRB report comes at the behest of the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force, which was established by the Hawaii Legislature earlier this year. The task force is part of the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Public Policy Center.
On Tuesday morning at Hawaii State Capitol Room 325, the Dispensary Task Force will be briefed by the LRB on its 2014 report.
Public hearings are scheduled in Hilo Wednesday evening and at the Capitol on Sept. 24 to obtain testimony on issues and concerns regarding dispensaries in Hawaii.
In 2000 the Hawaii Legislature passed a law enabling the use of medical marijuana by qualified individuals. But the law did not provide those individuals with a legal method of obtaining marijuana — “making it illegal for patients and caregivers to get medical marijuana for legitimate use,” as the House press release points out.
“It has been over a decade since Hawaii took the historic step of legalizing medical marijuana to better the lives our residents,” said House Health Chair Della Au Belatti. “But as we have learned throughout the years and once again validated by the report, issues still exist with the program that need to be addressed.”
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