DOH Medical Use of Marijuana Administrative Rules: Effective July 18, 2015

Posted on Jul 21, 2015 in Submenu

New Medical Marijuana Rules

On July 6, 2015, Governor David Ige approved the adoption of the DOH’s Chapter 11-160, Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), entitled “Medical Use of Marijuana” which became effective on July 18, 2015. Chapter 11-160, HAR, is now effective – all interested parties, patients and caregivers are advised to read through the new rules as ignorance of the law is not an acceptable defense for violating it.  Read more about the DOH Administrative Rules Timeline.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE: House Bill 321, CD1, which was signed into law by Governor Ige on July 14, 2015, eliminated the requirement that the certifying physician be the patient’s primary care physician (PCP). Therefore, the newly adopted Chapter 11-160, HAR, does not include any reference to PCP.


  1. Bona fide physician-patient relationship – The new DOH rules added a definition of “bona fide physician-patient relationship” and require that certifying physicians have such a relationship with the qualifying patient. “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a relationship in which the physician has ongoing responsibility for the assessment, care, and treatment of a qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition with respect to the medical use of marijuana which means:
    (1) The physician has completed a full assessment of the qualifying patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including conducting a review of the qualifying patient’s medical records related to the debilitating condition as medically appropriate and conducting an in-person physical examination;
    (2) The physician provides follow up care and treatment as medically appropriate to the qualifying patient and assesses the qualifying patient’s condition during the course of the qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana; and
    (3) The physician maintains records of the qualifying patient’s treatment and condition in accordance with medically accepted standards.
  2. Increased operational flexibility – The old rules required that the certifying physician complete and submit a patient registration application and sign the registration card before giving it to the patient. The new rules incorporate certain changes which will allow for increased operational flexibility in the application process. The DOH Medical Marijuana Program staff is currently developing a new on-line registration system which will allow: 1) the physician and patient to separately submit application information, 2) the physician to utilize an electronic signature and electronically submit the application, and 3) the registration card to be sent directly from the DOH to the patient due to the use of the electronic signature. Stay tuned for the upcoming launch of this on-line system.
  3. New process to add debilitating medical conditions – Subchapter 2 of Chapter 11-160, HAR, defines a new petition process by which medical conditions may be added by the DOH to the list of debilitating medical conditions that are defined in the law. Stay tuned for more information on this process.
  4. Possession of registration cards – The new DOH rules require that patients possess their registration cards whenever in possession of medical marijuana. This requirement assists both the patients and law enforcement in identifying registered participants in the program. Neither patients nor caregivers are authorized to begin growing or using medical marijuana until such time that they have their registration card in their possession.
  5. Tagging of marijuana plants – The new DOH rules require the person who has been designated with the DOH to cultivate marijuana have a legible identification tag, in a form and manner as determined by the DOH, on each marijuana plants being cultivated for the qualifying patient. All plants must have a tag at the base of each plant that identifies the patient’s registration card number and expiration date. If and when a new or replacement registration card is issued, all tags must be updated with the current information (note that renewed and replacement cards are assigned new registration numbers). Click here for the DOH’s tagging guidelines.