History of the Hawaii State Medical Cannabis Program

Chronological Program Changes

Since July 18 of 2019, the 2-year certification has become available for the eligible in-state renewal registration.

Since March 5 of 2019, the Medical Cannabis Registry Program has started accepting applications from the Out-of-State applicants, and has issued an electronic version of the 329 registration card for both in-state and out-of-state patients.

2018 Petition Process – No petitions were submitted in 2018

On July 5, 2018, HB2729 HD2 SD2 CD1 was signed into law as  Act 116 and made several changes to the current law:

  1. Extends the validity of the certification with the concurrence of the patient and patient’s physician/APRN.
  2. Safe Pulmonary Administration (SPA) products have been added to the list of approved “merch” licensed medical cannabis retail dispensaries may sell to qualifying patients.
  3. Patients who are registered for medical cannabis use in other states may be able to benefit from our program while visiting the islands.
  4. One or both parents/guardians are now allowed to register as caregivers for one or more qualifying minor patients.
  5. The bona fide provider-patient relationship may continue via telehealth after the relationship has been established by a face-to-face consultation.

2017 Petition Process – The program received two petitions to add: 1) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and 2) Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). The outcome – ALS was added, GAD was denied. Click here for more information.

On June 20, 2017, HB1488 HD1 SD1 CD1 was signed into law as Act 041 and made the following changes specific to the Registry Program that are effective June 29, 2017.

  • Increased Plant Count –  Section 2 amends “adequate supply” is increased from 7 plants to 10 plants per registered patient.
  • Addition of New Conditions – Section 2 also amends the definition of “debilitating medical condition” by adding “lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, [and] rheumatoid arthritis” as eligible conditions.
  • Patient/Caregiver Transportation for Lab Testing – Section 3 amends part IX, §329-122 (d) to allow the transportation of up to one gram of medical cannabis between patient or caregiver and a certified laboratory for testing purposes IF the patient or caregiver has a) secured an appointment for the testing, b) obtained confirmation of the appointment that includes the specific date and time for the appointment, and c) has the confirmation for the secured, confirmed appointment available during transport.
  • Inter Island Transportation Explicitly Prohibited for Patients and Caregivers – Section 3 also amends part IX, §329-122 (d) to explicitly prohibit “inter island transportation by any means or for any purpose between a qualified patient or primary caregiver and any other entity or individual, including an individual who is a qualified patient or primary caregiver”.
  • Caregivers Authorized to Cultivate – Section 4 amends part IX, §329-130 (a) and extends a registered caregiver’s authorization to cultivate cannabis for a qualifying patient until December 31, 2023.
  • Limits Established for Each Grow Site Location – Section 4 also amends part IX, §329-130 (a) by establishing limits for each cultivation location to no more than five qualifying patients after December 31, 2023.

Additional amendments were made that impact the Dispensary Program and chapter 329D that are not reflected here.  You may also search specific statutes at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent.

On July 11, 2016, HB2707 CD1 was signed into law as Act 230 and made the following changes specific to the Registry Program effective July 1, 2016:

  • Drug Paraphernalia – Section 6 amends part IX, §329-43.5 will not be applicable to individuals authorized under registry or dispensary laws.
  • Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) – Section 7 amends part IX, §329 to allow APRNs authority to certify patients for the Registry Program and all references in part IX, §329 to the certifying “physician” has been amended to include APRNs.
  • Transportation – Section 8 amends part IX, §329-122 (d) by allowing the transportation of medical cannabis between a dispensary “production center or retail dispensing location and a certified laboratory for the purpose of laboratory testing”, inclusive of inter island transportation for the sole purpose of laboratory testing and within jurisdictional limits of the state.
  • A 20 member Legislative Oversight Working Group Established – Section 23 establishes the Working Group within the public policy center in the college of social sciences at UH Manoa.  See HB2707 for all members included in this group.  Also see the Public Policy Center’s website for meeting notices and minutes – the group meets monthly.

NOTE: Act 230 also makes many clarifying changes to other existing laws as they may pertain to Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis program.  All of these updates, amendments, or additions are NOT referenced here.

On July 14, 2015, HB321 was signed into law and Act 241 pertaining to a Medical Cannabis Dispensary System further amended HRS 329 Part IX with direct impact to the Registry Program, some notable changes, which became effective July 1, 2015, are:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder was added as an eligible debilitating medical condition.
  • 329-123 was amended to remove the requirement that a certifying physician be the qualifying patient’s primary care physician and added a requirement that the certifying physician maintain a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient.
  • 329-122 was amended to prohibit inter-island transportation of cannabis, usable cannabis, or any manufactured cannabis product.  It was further amended to allow registered patients and caregivers OR dispensary owners and employees to transport medical cannabis in public IF the medical cannabis is:
    • In a sealed container
    • Not visible to the public, and
    • Not removed from the sealed container or consumed or used in any way while it is in the public place
  • After December 31, 2023 (based on Act 041, SLH 2017), no primary caregiver shall be authorized to cultivate cannabis for any qualifying patient.
  • Patients and caregivers are now prohibited from using “butane to extract tetrahydrocannabinol from cannabis plants.”
  • 329-126 was amended to require that certifying physicians comply with [patient] registration requirements of section 329-123 in order to be protected under the law.

To get a complete understanding of ALL changes to the law, read Act 241.  Act 241 was codified into Hawaii statute as Hawaii Revised Statute 329D

Effective January 1, 2015, Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program was transferred from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health, according to Act 177, SLH2013.   At the same time, Act 178, SLH2013 amended sections of HRS 329 Part IX.  Some notable changes, which became effective January 1, 2015, were:

  • “Adequate supply” changed from “three mature cannabis plants, four immature cannabis plants, and one ounce of usable cannabis” to “seven cannabis plants, whether immature or mature, and four ounces of usable cannabis at any given time.”
  • Notification of changes to information on the application – if the information provided to the department of health for registration changes, the registered program participant MUST report this change to the department of health “within ten working days” of the change. The previous requirement was “within five working days”



It’s NOT okay to drive a motor vehicle when under the influence of medical cannabis.