23 Legal States

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Facts

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Statistics and Marijuana Facts

When Governor Ben Cayetano signed Senate Bill 862 into law in June of 2000, Hawaii became the first state to enact a medical marijuana law legislatively rather than via a ballot initiative. In fact, the marijuana bill easily cleared the state house and senate, showing an uncommonly strong legislative will to help patients in need. The law makes registration for a Hawaii medical marijuana card mandatory for patients. The law however does not authorize any type of dispensary or collective cultivation, instructing patients and their caregivers to grow their own cannabis. A patient and their primary caregiver may possess an “adequate supply” of medicine according to the law; however, there is a very strict limit to this and the total amount may not exceed 7 plants and 3 ounces of usable marijuana.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Facts 2011:

  • The most recently available marijuana data indicated that there are over 8000 medical marijuana patients in Hawaii. The program experienced a period of rapid expansion between 2006 and 2010 when registrations grew by 260 percent and almost 6000 new patients were added to the roster.
  • The marijuana card is known as a “Blue Card” in Hawaii and, unlike states like California, it can take as long as 6 months for a patient to acquire one.
  • The highest concentration of patients is located on the Big Island, where there are 3,779 medical cannabis patients despite the fact that only 13.6 % of the state’s population lives there.
  • Hawaii’s tropical climate and easy access to water has made it into a great place for outdoor marijuana cultivation.
  • Data indicates that there are 175 physicians in Hawaii who have recommended medical marijuana to their patients. Hawaii doctors who deal with medical cannabis do not allow walk-ins and require a full transfer of medical records before seeing a patient.
  • There are 958 caregivers growing marijuana for Hawaii patients according to the most recent statistics available.
  • Records show that only 3 patients actually violated the medical marijuana law in 2010.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Facts: Management and Enforcement

  • Odd Hawaii marijuana fact: Instead of being under the Department of Health as is the case in most states, the patient registry is managed by the state’s Narcotics Enforcement Division, which is also in charge of enforcing drug laws. This creates a difficult situation where those issuing marijuana cards are often ideologically opposed to medical cannabis.
  • Another contradiction of interests occurs because the Hawaii Police Department is in charge of enforcing the medical marijuana law, which much of the department doesn’t support. In fact, the department receives up to $250,000 annually to eradicate cannabis and enforce prohibition. No money is allocated to enforce the medical marijuana program.