Category Archives: Medical marijuana

The Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill Is Now Law

For more on this welcome and exciting development, please see the following press release from the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai’i:

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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.

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Resource: FAQ about Dispensary Bill HB321

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 info@mcchi.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.

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Administrative Rules Hearings start on January 28th as DOH assumes care of Medical Marijuana Program

Since Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program has been transferred from the Department of Safety to the care of the Department of Health (DOH), the Administrative Rules MUST be changed.DOH MM prgm logo

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 medicalmarijuana@doh.hawaii.gov

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 medicalmarijuana@doh.hawaii.gov  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.

 

 

Talk Story Session in West Oahu (Waianae) on January 17th. Please Join us.

cropped-dpag_bground1The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii would like to invite you (and your friends) to a special event in Waianae.

We are hosting a “Talk Story” session.

It’s free! And, we will provide light refreshments and drinks.

All are invited to attend – if you have colleagues/friends/family that are caregivers, patients or doctors, they are more than welcome to attend. In this 2-hour session you will be given information about:

  1. The newest changes made to the medical marijuana (cannabis) program,
  2. What is happening with efforts to get a dispensary system.

We will discuss what bills may be introduced and we would like to hear your thoughts about them– as we move forward with improving the medical cannabis laws here in Hawai‘i.

YOUR INVITATION

When: Saturday, January 17, 2015        

Time: 1 pm – 3 pm            Cost: Free!

What: Talk Story: A chance to ask about Hawaii‘s medical cannabis laws and Legislative Updates. The information panel is: Rafael Kennedy, (Director) and Wendy Gibson, R.N. (Organizer) from the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii.

Where: Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center,  86-260 Farrington Highway, Waianae.

Directions: From Farrington Highway, turn onto Mailiilii Rd (a Stoplight).

Just past the Bus stop turn LEFT, at the Main Entrance–down the long driveway and park.

Go up the ramp to the 2nd floor of the Administration Building.

Please contact the Medical Cannabis Coalition if you have questions at  (808) 853-3231 or e-mail at info@mcchi.org.

All of our meetings are 100% confidential—but open to the public—so no video, photography or sound recordings please.

Mahalo and we look forward to seeing you on January 17th !

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Upcoming Conferences in 2015

Two noteworthy conferences that will address Drug Policy issues are coming up in February and March of 2015.

The FIRST conference is: icbc_sf_logo_big

International Cannabis Business Conference

Februrary 15, 16, 2015    in San Francisco, California.

“The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) is a business and networking event like none other. It is unique in that it brings in the top cannabis attorneys and professionals, as well as politicians, celebrities and journalists from around the U.S. and the world. The days are filled with networking and well-informed and lively speakers, and the evenings are filled with music and laughter. The ICBC is an environment expressly created for learning and networking and is a must attend for any serious Canna entrepreneur.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

Dr. Carl Hart, Ph.D, an associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University. Author of “High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-discovery that Challenges Everything you know about Drugs and Society”.

Ethan Nadelmann, founding director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), a driving force behind many successful marijuana law reform measures.

Amanda Reiman, Manager of Marijuana Law and Policy at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA),

Dale Gieringer, the state director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) since 1987

Anthony Johnson, the Director of New Approach Oregon, the political action committee responsible for the successful 2014 ballot measure that legalized and regulated marijuana in Oregon.

CONGRESSMAN DANA ROHRABACHER- Currently serving his 13th term in Congress, he represents California’s scenic 48th District. He co-sponsored the amendment to the Omnibus spending bill which eliminated Federal Funding for law enforcement interference with medical marijuana programs.

 The SECOND CONFERENCE IS:

National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference

(3rd Annual), March 27-31, 2015

in Washington, DC.

http://www.nationalmedicalcannabisunityconference.org/

The speakers are not listed, however this conference is welcome to many: Medical cannabis patients, legal professional, medical professionals, advocates, caregivers, industry professionals or professionals working in any aspect of advocacy including federal, state or local government relations, public relations, public affairs, community activism, coalitions, public policy, campaigns, PAC and grassroots, politics, legislation, and communications.

March 31st is reserved for “LOBBY DAY”.  They note that:

“We know that the best outcomes happen when medical cannabis patients and advocates have a voice in the conversation about policies that affect their lives and/or the lives of loved ones.

Research shows that YOUR citizen lobbying is 6x more effective than lobbying from special interest groups.

When you register for the conference we will make an appointment for you to meet with your Representative on our Lobby Day, March 31, 2015.”

Please pass this information along to others who might wish to attend.

Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program Policy Changes may be on the horizon—in the form of a Dispensary System.

Sunrise

The State of Hawaii Auditor’s Sunrise review of House Bill 1587 (a 2014 medical marijuana dispensary bill which didn’t pass) was released last week.

The review confirms that there will be many benefits from establishing a medical marijuana dispensary system–and not just economic benefits.  It recognizes that the current system forces patients to either grow their own or seek it out in the black markets.

The Auditor explained “Because the sale of marijuana is illegal under state law, there is no place within the state to legally obtain marijuana, which forces qualifying medical marijuana patients to either grow their own (MMJ) or seek out black market products,” the report reads. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm.”

The report goes on to say that without a system of regulated dispensaries, “patients’ health is jeopardized because a product’s strength, strain and lack of contaminants cannot be verified”. The report urges local lawmakers to set up a system of regulated dispensaries to serve patients.

The findings will be immediately useful during the 2015 legislative session when at least one dispensary bill WILL be introduced. The contents of the bills will be based largely upon the recommendations made by the (HCR-48) Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force.

One of the Dispensary Task Force members, State Senator Josh Green, M.D. (D-Kona), who chairs the Senate Health Committee, offered a hopeful sentiment to West Hawaii Today  when he expressed confidence that a [dispensary] bill will pass and be signed by Governor David Ige. He also offered that “The program needs to be very tightly regulated . . . And, it should be about the patients who need it the most having access.”

dispensary SF sparc-wall

The Dispensary TASK FORCE will meet at the State Capitol (from 9 to 11 a.m.) to present some of the recommendations on December 16, 2014.

The minutes from past meetings  are posted HERE.

New Cannabis Clinical Trial for Children with Severe Epilepsy

seizureA new clinical trial of medical cannabis is slated to begin next month. A cannabis based drug will be used to treat children with severe forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome. The impressive anti-seizure effects of cannabis on sufferers of Dravet syndrome was recently featured in the Sanjay Gupta documentary “Weed.”

For more information read the full article from the united patient group. It’s becoming harder and harder to make the case that Marijuana is a drug with “no medical application.” At least we are working on a powerful new treatment for some of the people who need it the very most.

New resource: Changes & Clarifications to Hawaiiʻs Medical Marijuana Program

The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii has published a “frequently asked questions” document on the new bills passed in 2013 and the recent Hawaii Supreme Court decision on patient travel within the state and medical marijuana. Visit www.mcchi.org for more details and to monitor the issue, or see the document here: (PDF, 5 pages) http://dpfhi.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/7_1mmjfaq_final.pdf

20th Anniversary Celebration a smash! ‘Olelo rebroadcasts scheduled

photo-1IMAG1770  IMAG1782 IMAG1776

Mahalo to the 90+ drug policy reform advocates that came to our 20th Anniversary Celebration 11/1/2013. We are humbled and strengthened by your support!

Senator Will Espero presented a Senate proclamation acknowledging our anniversary, founding member Richard Miller received a beautiful kamani wood bowl in honor of his contributions to our organization, and Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann amazed the crowd with an astute, inspiring overview of the past, present and future of drug law reform.

Watch the show on ‘Olelo (and mahalo to that all-volunteer crew that recorded it!):

      • Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Monday, December 9, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 8:00 a.m., Oceanic Channel 49
      • Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 49

“Celebrating 20 Years of Science, Reason and Compassion ”

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i’s 20th Anniversary Event
Friday, November 1, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Ohelo Building ~ Ka`ikena Laua`e Room

HONOLULU – Thursday, October 17, 2013 – In the last twenty years, Hawai`i has enacted drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations with the support of the voters and the legislature. Join us to celebrate the work of those individuals and organizations that have tirelessly worked towards drug policy based on concern for human dignity, effective outcomes, public health considerations, and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Speaking will be Ethan Nadelmann Ph.D., JD., Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance – The Nation’s Premiere Drug Policy Organization . Mr. Nadelmann’s talk will be on “Ending the War on Drugs: Are We Really at the Tipping Point? ”

For more than two decades, Nadelmann helped build a broad-based movement for reform on the strength of a strategic insight that’s both simple and profound: The fight against repressive drug laws isn’t about championing the rights of drug users – even of a substance as popular as marijuana. It’s about fighting against federal overreach and the needless human toll of drug prohibition. Read more about Ethan at: http://dpfhi.org/2013/06/14/the-most-influential-man-in-the-battle-for-legalization-is-a-wonky-intellectual-in-dad-jeans/.

The dinner will also honor Professor of Law Emeritus and former Dean, University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, Richard “Dick” Miller. Miller has never shied away from the new or the controversial. He arrived in Hawai`i to help establish the new law school at UH in 1973 and in 1993, 20 years later, he was one of the first Board members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i. His guidance and sharp legal mind is still a beacon for the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i in the roiling seas known as the war on drugs.

Tickets are $50 at the door and include a full dinner buffet and desserts. Limited seating is still available for the November 1 event. For further information, or to reserve a seat, please RSVP to info@dpfhi.org or call (808) 988-4386 .

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii was founded in 1993 and remains Hawai`i’s voice
for pragmatic drug policies that minimize economic, social, and human costs.
www.dpfhi.org