Hawai‘i’s Department of Health recently began accepting and processing registrations from qualified out-of-state patients for its medical cannabis program.
Patients whose applications are accepted will be able to legally acquire medical cannabis from any licensed retail dispensaries while visiting the islands.
The announcement coincided with the launch of a new online system offering an electronic medical cannabis card, which will also be available to out-of-state patients. The electronic cards contain the same information as the hard copy versions.
According to DOH, application processing using the system could occur as fast as the same day, although at the time of writing it appears there was a lag of 2 – 4 days. Still, that’s quite rapid in comparison to many other medical cannabis states.
Qualified out-of-state patients are able to apply up to 60 days prior to their visit to Hawai‘i and acquire cards online before their arrival. Hawai’i Governor David Ige originally signed amended medical cannabis law allowing a process for registering out-of-state patients back in July 2018.
In other recent related news out of Hawai’i, the Department of Health has approved a second dispensary on Hawai‘i Island to commence retail sales of medical cannabis. This brings the number of licensed retail dispensaries operating on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i Island (also known as Big Island) to 9.
Those nine dispensaries have a potential client base of 24,000 people – i.e. registered patients, not including the out-of-staters. However, in Hawai’i patients can also home grow up to ten plants. On Hawai’i Island itself, there are approximately 6,814 registered patients and 388 caregivers.
With 24,000 registered patients across the state, it works out close to 1.7% of Hawaii’s entire population has a medical cannabis card.
Registered patients and caregivers are permitted to purchase up to 4 ounces of medical cannabis during a 15-consecutive day period and 8 ounces over a 30-consecutive day period. The first two dispensaries began operating in the state in 2017; prior to which patients needed to grow their own plants.
Further details regarding the state’s program can be found here.