Travelers will be able to purchase cannabis in Hawaii from next year
The Hawaii Department of Health intends to allow persons from other states to purchase medical marijuana in Oahu, Maui and Kauai dispensaries, once they are medical marijuana cardholders.
However, the only persons who have a debilitating illness like include epilepsy, cancer, and Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS will be eligible.
These individuals must apply online and pay $45 plus an additional processing fee of $4.50.
Next, they will be issued a 60 day temporary Hawaii medical marijuana card to use for their purchases.
In the upcoming year, these visitors will have access to 6 dispensaries in Hawaii: three on Oahu, two on Maui and one on Kauai.
State officials are referring to the new system as reciprocity because without a temporary Hawaii issued medical marijuana card, those visitors will be prohibited from buying the substance.
New Regulations to Allow for More Temporary Medicinal Marijuana Cards
It is estimated by state health officials that once the regulations relax and the change is implemented… At least 5,000 visitors should apply for temporary cards during the first year.
In 2017 Hawaii had approximately 9.4 million visitors and this number is expected to increase 30,000 annually. With marijuana becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States, Hawaii is sure to see an influx of tourists with medical marijuana licenses as well.
Director of the Cure Oahu marijuana dispensary in Waikiki, George Bullock stated that the company is looking forward to serving travelers.
“We’ve been fielding a lot of calls daily about reciprocity. We really look forward to being able to serve them in the future.”
Chief of the department’s Harm Reduction Branch, Peter Whitacar, explained to Hawaii News Now how the temporary cards will function. These state-issued cards would essentially grant visitors’ permission to make medical marijuana purchases.
“The temporary card will be available to them to take to dispensaries to show that they are registered patients for purchase and for possession for medical cannabis.”
Bullock explained that persons who use medical marijuana are often very reliant on the substance and are restricted to its access when they travel.
This is a major downside of medical marijuana currently being illegal under federal law. Its current legal status prohibits patients from transporting their medication from one state to another.
“If they’re using the medicine for whatever their qualifying condition is, you have to take that into consideration if you’re making travel plans. A lot of the calls that we have are from patients who need the medicine and are concerned about not being able to get their medicine once they are here.”
Hawaii’s temporary card program for medicinal marijuana doesn’t fix the issues created by federal law. However, it is a step in the right direction for the cross-border availability of medicinal cannabis in the United States.