The Law – A Snapshot

DPFH’s Guide to Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Law

newsUPDATE May 2013: The 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed HB 668 and SB 542 to improve Hawaiiʻs medical marijuana laws. These bills will take effect JANUARY 2o15. Until they take effect, the information on this website is still current.


Patient-Doctor Medical Cannabis Registration Forms from the State Please note that you MUST see a physician to get a Blue Card from the state of Hawai‘i.  

On June 15, 2000, Governor Benjamin Cayetano signed Hawaii’s Act 228 into law, permitting medicinal use of cannabis.  For the first time in the United States, a state legislature worked on behalf of patients and passed a law allowing medical cannabis as a medication.

The law allows a doctor licensed to practice in Hawai‘i to recommend (not prescribe) medical cannabis to a patient with certain “debilitating” medical conditions if they feel that the potential benefits of medical cannabis outweigh the health risks for the particular patient.  Medical Conditions include:

  1. Cancer, glaucoma, or HIV/AIDS
  2. A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
    1. Cachexia (wasting syndrome);
    2. Severe pain;
    3. Severe nausea;
    4. Seizures;
    5. Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease;
    6. Additional conditions which may be added by the State Department of Health.

The doctor then fills out and submits a written certification for his/her patient to the Hawai‘i state Department of Public Safety along with an annual registration fee of $25.  Not everyone can claim medical use of cannabis – a patient must register with the Department of Public Safety and be certified by a doctor.

The Hawai‘i law also permits patents to appoint a “primary caregiver” who can be any person at least 18 years old other than their physician, who has agreed to undertake responsibility for managing the well-being of the patient with respect to the medical use of cannabis.  If a patient is under the age of 18, a primary caregiver must be designated.  The caregiver must also register with the Department of Public Safety.

The Department of Public Safety will mail the patient a “Blue Card” which patients and caregivers should carry at all times.  This card is evidence of compliance with the law.  Without the card, patients and caregivers may be arrested and held under arrest until the patient or caregiver’s right to medical cannabis is confirmed.

Under the Hawai‘i law, there is a limit to a patient or caregiver’s protected supply of medical cannabis.  The law states that a patient and caregiver together are allowed an adequate supply to alleviate the symptoms or effects of their debilitating illness.  In Hawai‘i, an adequate supply cannot exceed three mature marijuana plants and four immature marijuana plants and only once ounce of usable cannabis per mature plant.  This means that a patient and their primary caregiver cannot have more than three ounces of useable cannabis at any given time.

If patients, caregivers, and doctors follow the law, they are protected from being prosecuted for marijuana-related crimes under Hawai‘i law.  These protections do not extend to other states, even those states with medical cannabis laws, nor do they protect patients from Federal law enforcement.


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