Cannabis laws in Hawaii are regulated separately from other states. So Aloha! Hawaii is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. No wonder why – long sandy beaches, sipping cocktails from a coconut shell and simply having a good time. This small island has its independent laws when it comes to cannabis consumptions. So many tourists who go there for holiday might have high expectations of being free to consume marijuana. However, you might be in for a surprise, and not a good one.
If you were wondering if on your next holiday you will be free to consume marijuana and enjoy life, here’s all you need to know about the cannabis laws in Hawaii!
History of Cannabis Laws in Hawaii
In 2015, the cannabis laws in Hawaii changed and made medical marijuana legal for use. With Act 241, Hawaii created the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program, making medical marijuana available for patients.
Cannabis in Hawaii via Canna Law Blog
However, when it comes to recreational use of marijuana in Hawaii, this is still illegal. Only medical users are allowed to use, possess and transport marijuana. In order to gain that right, qualifying patients need to register with the Department of Health through a certified caregiver.
The limited amount which is allowed to be possessed by both patients and caregivers is 4 ounces or around 115 grams. Home cultivation for medical users is allowed and limited to up to 10 plants. For caregivers, at the moment the regulations are the same as for patients in terms of buying, distributing and home cultivation. Still, there are set laws that this is going to change soon as you would see later on.
Where Can You Buy Cannabis in Hawaii?
Considering the fact that cannabis laws in Hawaii only allow the use of medical marijuana, cannabis can only be bought in state-licensed dispensaries. The limit for medical patients is set to 4 ounces or around 115g grams in a period of 15 consecutive days or 8 ounces or around 225 grams for the period of 30 consecutive days.
The dispensaries working hours are also regulated by the cannabis laws in Hawaii. They are required to be open for 12 hours Monday through Sunday, between the period of 8 am and 8 pm.
Where Can You Consume Cannabis in Hawaii?
The cannabis laws in Hawaii do to specifically forbid the use of marijuana in open spaces, but it is stated that marijuana must not be consumed by any circumstances in which the health of another person is endangered in any way.
Medical cannabis is not allowed to be used in a moving vehicle regardless if the user is the driver or the passenger. The use of cannabis is also considered illegal in close proximity of a workplace, school, place of religious worship or public places.
Growing medical marijuana in Hawaii via Hawaii Cannabis Times
Possession and Home Cultivation Limits
The cannabis laws in Hawaii are quite restricting even for medical users. Namely, after 31st December 2023, caregivers will no longer be allowed to cultivate marijuana for their designated medical patients, with the only exception being minors who are qualified under the regulations of the state.
At the moment, the possession limits for medical marijuana users in Hawaii are set to 4 ounces or around 115 grams. When it comes to cultivation, they can grow up to 10 plants. At present, the law also applies to caregivers.
Still, there are some strict regulations when it comes to home cultivation of cannabis for medical use. Medical marijuana is only allowed to be grown on a designated location which is stated on the patent’s and the caregiver’s medical marijuana identity card. There is only one exception – to grow medical marijuana at a different site which is either owned or controlled by the patient or the designated caregiver. This is due to change at the end of 2023 and caregivers will no longer be able to grow marijuana on behalf of their users. The other aspects of the upcoming law have not been clearly defined yet, while it is expected some of the regulations in regards to distributing marijuana to patients.
Qualifying Conditions to Become a Medical Marijuana User
According to the cannabis laws in Hawaii, there are several conditions and illnesses which are regarded as qualifying conditions:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy
- Severe nausea
- Severe pain
- Severe and persistent muscle spasms
- Crohn’s disease
All of these conditions need to be verified by a certified physician in order to start the process of obtaining a medical marijuana identification card.
Medical Marijuana Hawaii via Cannabis Culture
Medical Marijuana Patient Registration Process
In order for a person to qualify to become a medical marijuana user, they need to be diagnosed with one of the conditions and illnesses stated in the cannabis laws in Hawaii. The applicant would need to have a recommendation from a qualifying physician as a written statement that needs to be submitted together with the application. The application for a medical marijuana identity card is done online on the state’s website for the Medical Marijuana Program. The patient would need to submit a document to prove their residence in the country and the specific address of living. A certified doctor would need to verify the application about the validity of the information enclosed. The fee for this application process is $38.50 and during the application, the patient can appoint their primary caregiver. The caregiver, however, also needs to submit an application to the Hawaiian Department of Health and they need to certify the patient’s condition and the need for marijuana.
The medical marijuana identification card is called 329 Card. If successful, you will receive your medical marijuana identification card through the post. Many have asked why the card isn’t called 420, however, according to the sources 420 is regarded solely as a number that describes recreational use of marijuana which is prohibited by law in Hawaii.
All medical marijuana identification card is valid for a year and it needs to be renewed at least 60 days before the existing one expires.
Cannabis Testing Labs in Hawaii
According to the cannabis laws in Hawaii, all medical marijuana needs to be tested before going into dispensaries. All testing labs are certified by the state of Hawaii and when testing the cannabis, they are focusing on the following:
- cannabinoid profile (including THC)
- compounds that are considered “active ingredients”
- heavy metals
- moisture content
- microbial contaminants
- intestinal bacteria and pathogens
- dangerous molds that can cause infection and disease
- toxins produced by molds
Cannabis Expo via Star Advertiser
Recreational Use of Marijuana
Marijuana is illegal for recreational use according to the cannabis laws in Hawaii. There are no indications that weed would be legalized any time soon in this state. The penalties in this state are quite high and they mostly depend on the amount of marijuana that the person was caught with. For example, if you are caught with less than 1 ounce of marijuana and failure to provide a medical marijuana identification card, you might be facing up to 30 days in prison and $1000 in fines.
The penalties increase if you are caught with more than an ounce of marijuana in your possession. If the amount is over an ounce but less than a pound, this is considered a misdemeanor and punishable to up to a year in prison and $2000 in fines.
For possession of over one pound, you could be facing jail time of up to 5 years and a fine of $10.000.
Penalties are even greater if caught possessing marijuana with an intent to distribute it. Possession of between 1 pound and 2 pounds with an intention to distribute is regarded as a felony class C and it is punishable by 5 years in prison and $10.000 in fines. Possession with the intent to distribute of between 2 pounds and 25 pounds is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and fines of $25.000, while possession of over 25 pounds is classified as a felony type A, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $50.000 in fines.
Cannabis Growing Hawaii via Maui Now
Possession of any amount of marijuana in the proximity of 750 feet from a school or park, within 10 feet of a parked school vehicle or a place of religious worship is treated as a type B felony, punishable by 5 years in prison and $10.000 fine.
The punishment for the sale of marijuana is even more rigorous. The cannabis laws in Hawaii state that selling or delivering marijuana for sale of less than 1 ounce is considered as a misdemeanor and it is punishable by 1 year in prison and $2000 in fines. Distribution with the intention to sell more than 1 ounce but less than 1 pound is regarded as a felony of class C and it is punishable by 5 years in prison and $10.000 in fines. If caught distributing an amount between 1 pound and 5 pounds, it is considered as a class B felony and the penalties for it are up to 10 years in prison and $25.000 fine. A class A felony, according to the cannabis laws in Hawaii, is if a person is caught in possession with the intention to sell over 5 pounds of marijuana. This is punishable by 10 years in prison and $50.000 in fines.
Cultivation is also regarded as a serious felony. Growing between 25 to 50 plants is considered as a class C felony with a $10.000 fine and 5 years in prison. Cultivation between 50 and 100 plants is seen as a class B felony, punishable by 10 years and $25.000 in fines. Growing over 100 plants of marijuana is a class A felony and it is punishable by 20 years of prison and $50.000 in fines.
Still, the cannabis laws in Hawaii allow some wiggle room for first-time offenders. As a first time offender, if you plead or if you are found guilty there is a possibility for a suspended jail sentence and probation. If the probation is completed successfully, the court may dismiss the charges and drop the proceedings.
Medical Cannabis in Hawaii via Khon
For a country which is the home of good time and positive spirit, it is quite surprising that the cannabis laws in Hawaii are so restricting. Even if you are a user of medical marijuana, you might find the laws even unfair since they are so limiting. For caregivers, while at the moment they are still allowed to administer, distribute and grow marijuana on behalf of their patients, as we saw previously, it seems that things are bound to get even much stricter.
If you ask a lot of tourists, they would agree that things would be much nicer in the Aloha island if they were able to have the freedom to consume marijuana freely. Even though there are not any indications, we might hope that this will change in the future. In the meantime, be safe while having fun in Hawaii.