Hawaii has granted visitors access to medical marijuana, a move that is likely to have potential benefits to travelers but most importantly to patients and the state-licensed medical cannabis businesses.
With the latest development, out-of-state visitors can now access medical cannabis easily during their stay in Hawaii. This follows the establishment of a program, which offers 329-OSP cards to non-residents with proper medical credentials.
The patients will be eligible to take part if their use for medical cannabis meets one or more qualifying conditions recognized by the state. Besides, the traveler is also required to have a valid medical cannabis registration from any other state or territory within the U.S and a valid ID (government-issued) from the same state. Visitors are allowed to apply for the card by making payment for a fee and then completing the application with the Hawaii Department of Health online. This process can be done up to 60 days before arrival.
According to Pedro Haro (Hawaii Educational Association for Therapeutic Healthcare Executive director), the state Department of Health has done its best to make the application process is as easy as possible as it has set up an amazing new electronic portal to enhance access. “The application is now available on the Department of Health website, and the process takes about 10 minutes,” said Pedro while speaking to Cannabis Business Times.
With the card, patients can access medical marijuana from dispensaries within Hawaii for 60 days after which the card can be renewed if the visitor requires additional time.
Currently, there are dispensaries in around three locations, including islands of Maui, O’ahu, Hawai’i islands and Kaua’i, but there are no dispensaries on Moloka’i and Lana’i islands. The program provides that all out-of-state patients issued with the 329-OSP card will be able to shop at any of the dispensaries within the state and can also possess up to four ounces of usable cannabis legally. However, according to Haro, the state has some rules on the transportation of medical marijuana.
“The federal law provides that a sealed, opaque container must be used in the transportation of cannabis products, he added. “It also prohibits the transportation of cannabis on federal lands or over the ocean. Thus, patients may not be allowed to transport cannabis products inter-island, between the America continent or within any national park in Hawaii.”
It is also important for visitors to understand that the state has strict laws regarding smoking, noted Haro.
“Hawaii has one of the most rigorous laws on smoking in the country,” said Haro. “This means that there is a prohibition of vaporization or smoking of any product in all public areas, which includes stores, hotels and restaurants. Moreover, smoking is not allowed in state and county parks, beaches and within rental vehicles.”
Fortunately, non-smokable cannabis products are available in most of the state-licensed dispensaries, but edible cannabis products are prohibited, he added. Some of these non-smokable products include capsules, topical, tinctures, lozenges, concentrates and extracted oils.
In conclusion, granting out-of-state visitors will have a positive impact on the patients and most importantly the medical cannabis businesses in the state, noted Haro.
“Cannabis patients in need of legal access to safe cannabis products make calls and send emails to the dispensary operators while traveling to the islands, he added. “The new program is a great measure that will ensure that the visitors get access to cannabis products without causing any undesirable impact to the residents.”
The 329-OSP card could also offer significant benefits to medical marijuana patients living in Hawaii, Haro noted. “With the electronic card system being now available to residents, it will help expedite card processing. This will promote the sharing of the high compliance costs for dispensaries among more patients, which will eventually make the products relatively affordable for all patients. Thus, this is a win-win situation for all the parties involved.”