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State Regulations

The Legalization of Cannabis in Hawaii

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Cannabis in Hawaii is illegal for recreational use but decriminalized for possession of three grams or less. Medical use was legalized through legislation passed in 2000, making Hawaii the first state to legalize medical use through the state legislature rather than through a ballot initiative.

In 2000, Ben Cayetano the Hawaiian Governor signed ACT 228 into law which allowed the growing of their own cannabis by holders of medical marijuana cards or their appointed caretakers. This law however did not establish legal dispensaries or markets.

In 2015, the “Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii” was formed to assist those qualifying for medical marijuana in the registration-required before one could use medical marijuana. One was required to have certification from a licensed physician that the health condition of the patient and would benefit from using medical marijuana. The patients would then be granted a 329 Registration card by the Department of Health.

The health conditions that qualify for medical cannabis in Hawaii include:

  • Cancer
  • ALS
  • Glaucoma
  • Lupus
  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • PTSD
  • Wasting Syndrome/ Cachexia
  • Severe Pain
  • Severe Nausea
  • Epilepsy / Seizures
  • Crohn’s Disease

In this state, medical use of cannabis is legal. Though recreational use is decriminalized, it is against program use to transport it, and growing is only allowed for medical use.

Governor Ige on July 1, 2019, made an announcement about his letting a legislature-passed bill pass without signing that would decriminalize small quantities of cannabis.  Starting January 11, 2020, possession of amounts lower than 3 grams or under of marijuana became punishable by a fine of $130. Hitherto, a similar offense would attract an up to 30-day jail term and a fine of not more than $1,000.

The coming years can only see exponential growth in the cannabis industry, with is an incentive for more states to legalize and structure the medical use and market. In states that have already legalized medical use, the projected growth is likely to be 7% CAGR all the way through to 2030 with sales growing from $8.5 billion in 2020 – to appx $16.7 billion by 2025. Adult-use cannabis is also likely to hit $40.9 billion from the current $11.7 billion at a 13% CAGR, as more sales also go through legal channels. This will also meet the objective of disrupting illicit markets for both medical and recreational cannabis.

Lydia K. (Bsc. RN) is a cannabis writer, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. Currently, she is a regular writer for Mace Media. In the past, she has written for MyBud, RX Leaf & Dine Magazine (Canada), CBDShopy (UK) and Cannavalate & Pharmadiol (Australia). She is best known for writing epic news articles and medical pieces. Occasionally, she deviates from news and science and creates humorous articles. And boy doesn't she love that! She equally enjoys ice cream, as should all right-thinking people.


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