Certifying Physician/APRN Q & A

Do I need to be licensed in the State of Hawaii to certify a patient for the Medical Cannabis Program? YES

  • A certifying physician must be a Hawaii-licensed physician (Medical Doctor or Doctor of Osteopathy) who holds a current and valid license with authority to prescribe drugs and who is registered with the Department of Public Safety to prescribe controlled substances.
  • A certifying APRN must be a Hawaii-licensed Advanced Practice Registered Nurse with prescriptive authority and who is registered with the Department of Public Safety to prescribe controlled substances.

Do I have to register with DOH as a certifying physician? NO – Effective January 1, 2016, all applications to the program must be submitted electronically AND each physician must complete an Electronic Signature Agreement and return the ORIGINAL (signed and dated) to DOH.  Electronic signatures are NOT acceptable for this form.  This form is required BEFORE the physician/APRN can use the new electronic system which allows DOH to accept the physician’s or APRN’s electronic signature for BOTH the patient’s application AND the issued 329 Card.

Is my certification of the patient’s debilitating medical condition good indefinitely? NO – certifications are only good for 12 months.  A patient must renew their registration in the Medical Cannabis Program annually and a new certification is required from a physician or APRN.

Can I write my own certification (use my own forms) for my patient? NO –this is not a prescription, there are neither dosing requirements nor frequency requirements established in the current law and law enforcement will not recognize the physician’s or APRN’s “certificate or script” as valid documentation of the patient’s or caregiver’s registration into the Medical Cannabis  Registry Program.

Once I see my patient and submit an application to DOH, is my patient registeredNO – for the purposes of the Medical Cannabis Registry Program, the physician’s or APRN’s written certification is only ONE part of the application process.  A COMPLETE application packet must be submitted to DOH before a patient will be considered for registration.  Once DOH verifies that the application packet is complete AND approves/issues a 329 Card.  Once the patient receives their 329 Card, they will be protected under the law – assuming they are in compliance with all other elements of the law.  NOTE: The patient/caregiver must have their 329 Card (and a valid ID) on their person any time they are in possession of medical cannabis.

Is the certifying physician/APRN required to submit the application for the patient? YES – All applications are to be submitted to DOH by physicians or APRNs (As of 1/1/16 – electronically).

Will the patient’s registration card be mailed directly to patient? YES and NO

  1. YES – for all electronically certified patients registered after December 1, 2015 AND assuming that DOH has received the Electronic Signature Agreement form from the certifying physician/APRN, 329 Cards will be mailed directly to the patient.
  2. NO – For all changes to existing 329 Cards that were NOT electronically certified (that is, any 329 Card that was issued before December 1, 2015) and that a patient requests a change to the 329 Card or a replacement of the prior 329 Card, DOH will mail the 329 Card back to the certifying physician because it must be signed (with an original hand written signature) by the certifying physician. The certifying physician will then give the signed 329 Registration Card to their patient.


By January 2017, all 329 Registrations should be electronically certified and 329 Cards will be mailed directly to patients.  Physicians/APRNs should make every effort to ensure that patient information (email address, mailing address and phone number) is accurate.

As the certifying physician/APRN, do I have to recommend specific amounts of cannabis as I would for a prescription or regulate how much medical cannabis my patient uses? NO – Physicians/APRNs neither prescribe nor control dosing under Hawaii’s medical cannabis laws.   However, a certifying physician/APRN must 1) certify that, in the physician’s/APRN’s professional opinion, the qualifying patient has a debilitating medical condition and that 2) the potential benefits of the medical use of cannabis would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient.