No fewer than 16 bills directly related to the use of cannabis were introduced in the state legislature during the last couple of weeks. Lawmakers seek to increase oversight of the medical marijuana industry while addressing access and legal protections for patients and caregivers, as well as illegal marijuana use.
Hawaii has been a medical marijuana state since 2000. Several bills would establish a state-regulated distribution program, including licensing of producers and processors.
One bill, SB 58, increases the patient-to-caregiver ratio and the amount of cannabis permitted per patient or caregiver. It would also enhance patient confidentiality and clarify that the Department of Public Safety may not require more information than required by law. The department also could not require that the patient’s certifying physician be the patient’s primary care physician. Another bill, SB 175, would take jurisdiction of medical marijuana laws out of the hands of the Department of Public Safety altogether, assigning oversight to the Department of Health.
HB 1169 redefines “Debilitating medical condition” and “written certification.” It also clarifies legal protections for patients or primary caregivers and adds penalties for fraudulent misrepresentation. SB 175 would also amend the definition of “written certification.”
Addressing marijuana as a drug, SB 174 would move marijuana and its active ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), from the current classification of Schedule I controlled substances to schedule III. And HB 1624 establishes a three-year pilot medical marijuana research program.
Meanwhile, unrelated to medical marijuana, some lawmakers want to reduce the penalties of possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to no more than $100 (SB 1460) or $500 (HB 544). A few bills direct the attorney general to review moving marijuana drug offenders into treatment programs.
Source: Hawaii State Legislature