About usThe Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i is a non-profit organization founded in 1993 to educate policymakers and the public about effective ways of addressing drug issues in Hawai‘i with sensible and humane policies that reduce harm, expand treatment options, and adopt evidence-based practices while optimizing the use of scarce resources. The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i envisions a just society where drug laws are grounded in science, compassion, and public health, and where criminalization is reserved for those who pose a genuine danger to public safety.
Some Excellent Resources
- New Poll Shows Increased, Strong Support for Cannabis Reform
- Drug Policy Forum’s Legislative Priorities for 2017
- Nurses Continuing Education Training – Nov. 19th – Others Welcome Too!
- Governor Signs Life-Saving Bill To Prevent Overdose Deaths in Hawai’i
- Support the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i with a tax deductible donation!
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Please see the document below for our 2017 legislative priorities. As soon as specific legislation is introduced, we will provide you with bill numbers and action items.
May 2017 be the year that Hawai’i finally decriminalizes possession of cannabis for adult personal use as well as the possession of drug paraphernalia. Imua!
We wish you a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
Patients Out of Time will be presenting “The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know“. This all day seminar is the perfect opportunity to expand the number of Advance Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) in Hawai‘i who are willing and qualified to certify and renew medical cannabis patients.
The general public, patients, interested individuals, and doctors are also welcome to attend to expand their knowledge of the medical uses of cannabis!
Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. [Registration from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – drinks and snacks will be available]. Lunch will not be provided.
Location: Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance, Real Office Centers, 1110 Nu‘uanu Ave. #6, Honolulu, HI. PLEASE NOTE: This venue is not wheelchair-accessible.
Contact Hours: Provider approved by the CA Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #16044, for 6 contact hours
Cost: $100.00 for all attendees until November 18, $120 to register at the door on November 19. A syllabus will be provided for all attendees registering to claim CEU credits.
Description: This timely and provocative seminar will include an overview of cannabis, the various cannabinoids (endogenous, phyto-cannabinoids and pharmaceutical cannabinoid products) and the newly discovered endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) that is present in all humans. By understanding the ECS, it becomes more clear as to how and why cannabis is a safe and effective medication for a wide array of illnesses and conditions. The healthcare professional’s role in patient care and education regarding the safe use of cannabis, including ingestion methodologies and interactions with prescription opiates, will be discussed. State and federal laws regarding cannabis as medicine will also be presented.
The event will feature:
Presenter: Mary Lynn Mathre, RN, MSN, CARN, is a medical cannabis consultant and addictions nurse consultant, co-founder of Patients Out of Time, and Past President of the American Cannabis Nurses Association.
Presenter: Wendy Gibson, RN, BSN, a cannabis nurse and ACNA member who is involved in helping shape medical cannabis laws and educating health care professionals in Hawai‘i. She happily serves as the Field Organizer for The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai‘i and The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.
Presenter: Stephen P. Pingree, Tax Defense Attorney and Alliance member. Stephen has legal and business experience with the Medical Marijuana (MMJ) law and regulations in the State of Nevada; as well as Federal and other states’ MJ laws and regulations. He is well versed in the Hawai‘i MMJ law (HRS 329D) and DOH MMJ Rules and Regulations.
Governor Signs Life-Saving Bill To Prevent Overdose Deaths in Hawai’i
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Heather Lusk, Director, CHOW Project
(808) 393-4624 firstname.lastname@example.org
Carl Bergquist, Director, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
(808) 853-3231 email@example.com
HONOLULU, HI –June 20, 2016
The CHOW Project and the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i (DPFHI) applaud Governor David Ige for enacting SB 2392 (Act 68) which was signed into law on June 16, 2016. The law takes steps to reduce deaths from opioids like fentanyl, oxycodone and heroin, by increasing access to, and encouraging the use of, overdose reversal medications such as naloxone. As overdose deaths are increasing in Hawai’i, this landmark law will put these medications in the hands of friends and family best positioned to save the lives of their loved ones.
Act 68 creates immunity for health care professionals and pharmacists who prescribe, dispense, distribute, or administer overdose reversal medications such as naloxone. The Act also authorizes police, firefighters, lifeguards, all emergency medical technicians, family and friends to administer this medication to anyone experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose. Act 68 also allows harm reduction organizations like the CHOW Project to store and distribute them within the communities they serve.
Naloxone Saves Lives
Naloxone is a non-narcotic opioid antagonist used to blocks opioids. It has no potential for misuse, and side effects are rare. When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of the drug(s) and restores breathing within 3 minutes. Over 10,000 overdose reversals have been achieved nationwide by using naloxone.
“For every 164 naloxone kits distributed, one life is saved. Hawaii now joins the majority of states in increasing access to this life-saving drug with the passage of this important legislation” stated Heather Lusk, Director of the CHOW Project. “Half of our participants have witnessed or experienced an overdose in the past couple of years and now we can prevent overdose deaths with education and access to naloxone”.
Preventing Overdoses in Hawai’i
In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic, Hawai’i is now the 38th jurisdiction to pass a law that increases access to naloxone-type medication. Not only has drug overdose been the leading cause of injury death for the past two decades for the entire United States, it was also the leading cause of fatal injuries in Hawai’i from 2010-2014—surpassing falls, motor vehicle, drowning and other injury-related deaths. In 2014, there were 155 deaths from drug poisonings/overdoses in Hawai’i, with a total of 1,465 over the past decade. The CHOW Project and DPFHI truly welcome the collaboration with the Hawai’i Department of Health’s Harm Reduction Services Branch in addressing this burden.
“With rare bipartisan support, President Obama recently allocated over one billion dollars in his budget to increase federal funding for overdose prevention. In other words, the timing of this legislation could not be better,” added Carl Bergquist, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i. “Not only does it put necessary legal protections in place, but Hawai’i is more likely than ever to see the money we need to save the lives of those at risk and increase their treatment options.”
In order to help DPFHI continue growing as Hawaii’s leading advocacy organization for sensible, compassionate and effective drug policies, please consider making a tax deductible contribution to our organization by either using the PayPal button below or by mailing a check. Thank you and Mahalo!
To make a DONATION:
Our July 2015 Newsletter is out! Please read it below, or download it by clicking here.
For more on this welcome and exciting development, please see the following press release from the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai’i:
Dispensary Bill Now Law, Lauded by Advocates
“Diligent efforts” by Hawai’i lawmakers praised
Honolulu, Hawai‘i: HB 321 was signed into law by Governor Ige as Act 241 on July 14th, 2015. Act 241 establishes a framework for medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaiʻi. The Department of Health will establish administrative rules and procedures governing the program, with the first dispensaries set to open as soon as 7/15/16. A “frequently asked questions” guide to SB 321 (now Act 241) can be found at the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii (“MCCHI”) website: www.mcchi.org.
MCCHI and Drug Policy Action Group Executive Director Carl Bergquist said:
“In developing Act 241, lawmakers conducted a rigorous review of the 15 year-old program, seeking reports from the State auditor, studying recommendations from the Dispensary Task Force, and hearing direct input from the public. 88% of Hawai‘i voters support safe, legal access to medication for Hawaiiʻs registered patients statewide, and now, thanks to this diligent effort, the Legislature has listened.
Note: All information given here is general in nature and is not legal advice.
To view the actual text of the bill, see this document. References to the text of the bill are in the form of (page:line – line).
If you have questions that are not addressed here, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try and keep the page updated with answers.
Will this affect my ability to grow my own medicine?
No. (46:5-9) There are no provisions in the law that affect patients’ rights to grow their own medicine. See page 46: Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as prohibiting a qualifying patient or primary caregiver from cultivating or possessing an adequate supply of medical marijuana pursuant to part IX of chapter 329.
When Will Hawaii’s Patients Be Able to Buy Medical Marijuana?
That was the question answered by panelists on Thursday, April 9, 8:00 pm during the Insights on PBS interactive discussion. This show will be aired on Sunday, April 12 at 2:00 pm.
Panelists were: Representative Della Au Belatti, Pamela Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Forum, Doug Chin , Attorney General, and Alan Shinn, Executive Director of the Coalition for a Drug Free Hawaii.
If you missed it, you can VIEW it by clicking HERE.
Administrative Rules Hearings start on January 28th as DOH assumes care of Medical Marijuana Program
THE DOH posted a Notice of Public Hearing for DOH Administrative Rules on December 20, 2014. Links to the entire DOH notice are below.
Some highlights of the notice:
The public hearings are scheduled to start January 28, 2015 on the Big Island (Hilo) and will continue on Oahu February 2nd, on Maui February 3rd and on Kauai February 5th.
The TOPICS WILL include administrative rules and the procedures for :
** Application processing, registrations, monitoring, and disciplinary actions.
** Maintaining confidentiality for patients and caregivers.
** Petitioning to add a disease or health condition to the list of qualifying conditions.
** Physician requirements for issuing written certifications and maintaining medical records.
Please NOTE: Topics will NOT include the medical marijuana dispensary system or the task force recommendations.
The DISPENSARY IS A SEPARATE ISSUE and and the way to give your input for that is through the legislative process –which starts ON January 21, 2015.
Also note that these RULES are required to implement the EXISTING LAWS and CANNOT CHANGE any element of it (for instance they cannot increase plant limits).
The public does have an opportunity to weigh in (details are BELOW) and all of your comments, positive or negative are equally important and encouraged.
Once all of the administrative rules are approved, the proposed changes can be officially implemented. These include initiating a process for DOH to add NEW CONDITIONS and improving the program by implementing a fully-electronic system.
Please realize that ADMINISTRATIVE RULE making is cumbersome, time-consuming and requires going through many bureaucratic hoops. It can take many months to finalize the rules, especially if substantive changes are made.
Excerpt from the Public Hearing Notice:
Pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 91, notice is hereby given that the Department of Health (DOH) will hold a public hearing for the proposed adoption of Chapter 11-160, Hawaii Administrative Rules, Medical Use of Marijuana.
This proposed new chapter would establish the medical marijuana program at DOH, including A NEW process for DOH to approve debilitating medical conditions, physician requirements to participate in the medical marijuana program, registration of qualifying patients and primary caregivers, monitoring and corrective action, administrative procedure, and confidentiality of information.
HEARING DATES and LOCATIONS:
Big Island–Date: Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Time:10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Place: State Office Building, Conference rooms A, B and C 75 Aupuni St. Hilo, Hawaii, HI 96720
Oahu--Date: Monday, February 2, 2015 Time:10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Place: Diamond Head Health Center 3627 Kilauea Ave.,Room 418 Honolulu, HI 96816
Maui– Date:Tuesday, February 3, 2015 Time: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
Place: State Office Building 54 South High Street, Third Floor Conference Room, Wailuku, Maui, HI 96793
Kauai – Date: Thursday, February 5, 2015 Time: 10:30 to noon
Place: State Office Building 3060 Eiwa St., Basement Lihue, Kauai, HI 96766
All WRITTEN testimony must be received no later than February 6, 2015, at 4:30 p.m.
PUBLIC TESTIMONY- All interested persons shall be afforded the opportunity to submit testimony, orally and/or in writing, on the proposed administrative rules at the time of the public hearing. Persons who are not able to attend the public hearing may submit written testimony to DOH: by mail at: 4348 Waialae Avenue, #648, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816; or by email at email@example.com
Any person requiring a special accommodation (e.g., assistance of a sign language interpreter) at the public hearing shall file a request with DOH by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (808) 733-9010 or via relay, at least ten business days before the public hearing.
To see more information on the hearing, please click Public Hearing Notice.
To read the proposed rules, please click Proposed Administrative Rules.