Hawaii lawmakers want to allow anyone at least 65-years-old to qualify for medical marijuana, even if they don’t have an underlying condition.

The Senate Health Committee this week pushed forward Senate Bill 2718, which would change the definition of a “qualifying patient” under the state’s marijuana law to mean any person diagnosed by a physician or advanced practice registered nurse as having a debilitating medical condition or anyone who reached the age of 65.

Advocates for the bill believe that medical cannabis has numerous positive effects and is beneficial for those who struggle with mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia or stress.

A bill moving through the Legislature would let anyone at least 65-years-old qualify for medical marijuana. Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat

During a hearing on the measure Feb. 7, Tami Whitney, who works for the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis Control and Regulation, said the department has concerns with the bill.

“Patient’s who are 65-and-older may have other conditions and other medications that could result in unfavorable drug interactions,” Whitney said.

Whitney continued: “Removing the medical providers’ role to examine patients who have other medical conditions and may be taking many other prescription and over-the-counter medications jeopardizes patient health and safety.”

SB 2718 now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has until March 4 to pass the measure if the bill has a chance of surviving the session.

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