Weed in Hawaii
Do you dream of relaxing in the ocean breeze with your feet in the sand, overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a marijuana joint in hand? Hawaiian paradise might evoke dreams of listening to Bob Marley and weed in Hawaii can often be smelled while sitting on some beaches.
However, is marijuana legal in Hawaii? The short answer is that marijuana, also known as pakalolo in Hawaiian, is legal for certain medical reasons and with proper documentation. While recreational marijuana is not legal in Hawaii, the Hawaii marijuana laws are ever evolving. Read on to learn more about weed in Hawaii.
What are the marijuana laws in Hawaii?
Hawaii has a few monumental cannabis laws, including becoming the first state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in 2000 through the state legislature with Act 228. Here is the history of major marijuana laws in Hawaii:
2000 – Act 228 allowed medical marijuana cardholders to grow their own cannabis or have a caregiver grow their marijuana for them. This act, which is Hawaii’s initial use of Medical Cannabis Law, made Hawaii the eighth state to legalize medical cannabis and the first to legalize medical marijuana through an act in the state legislature.
Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) 329 is Hawaii’s Uniformed Controlled Substances Act, which was written as a result of Act 228 and has been amended with other acts over the years. HRS 329 contains the majority of the laws regarding medical marijuana use in Hawaii, including information on registration for qualifying patients. The 329 Card, which is given to registered medical cannabis patients in Hawaii, is named after HRS 329.
2015 – After 15 years without any legal marijuana market or dispensaries in Hawaii, Act 241 was passed. This clarified information on registering to use medical marijuana legally in Hawaii. It also tasked the Hawaii Department of Health with establishing a Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program to sell medical and manufactured marijuana products to registered patients.
Senate Bill 321, which was passed in 2016, allowed eight marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii. Today, all eight marijuana dispensaries are operating, and they can be found on Oahu, Kauai, Big Island, and Maui. Read on to learn where Hawaii’s medical marijuana dispensaries are located.
2016 – With the signing of Act 228 by Governor David Ige, industrial hemp for agricultural or academic research became legal in Hawaii. Today in Hawaii, there are no criminal or civil sanctions for the “planting, growing, harvesting, possessing, processing, selling or buying” of industrial hemp because of the passage of House Bill 773 in February 2017.
2020 – Taking effect in January 2020, Hawaii decriminalized pot, removing any jail time for possessing less than three grams of marijuana for any reason. If you are caught in Hawaii with less than three grams of weed, you would still have to pay $130 if you are not legally registered as a medical marijuana user. With the passing of this bill, Hawaii became the 26th state in the United States to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Medical Marijuana Hawaii
How can I legally smoke marijuana in Hawaii? The answer is to legally register to use medical marijuana in Hawaii via the Medical Cannabis Patient Registry Program.
These are the three main steps to legally smoking marijuana for medical reasons in Hawaii:
Step 1: Have a certified health condition to use medical cannabis.
Do you have a patient relationship with a physician or APRN? This relationship is a precursor to being able to legally smoke medical marijuana in Hawaii, as the doctor must certify in the state’s online account that you have a certain medical condition that would qualify you to be a legal weed user in the state of Hawaii.
The physician or APRN will write a certification statement and sign electronically in the state’s database that the patient has a qualifying condition. Note that for the doctor or nurse to sign, they will need to send a signature form via mail to the Department of Health and also link their “myPVL” license to the Medical Cannabis Registry.
There are certain “debilitating medical conditions” according to HRS-329 which would qualify someone to use medical marijuana in Hawaii:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Immune deficiency syndrome
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
If you do not have any of the above debilitating medical conditions but are suffering from one of these conditions, you may also qualify to legally smoke marijuana in Hawaii:
- Severe pain
- Severe nausea
- Muscle spasms
- Cachexia or muscle atrophy
Do you think conditions such as insomnia, depression, or anxiety should be added to Hawaii’s medicinal marijuana approval list? A petition can be submitted to the Department of Health which should include evidence-based research to support the condition’s addition to the list.
Step 2: Register with the Hawaii Department of Health.
If you think you might qualify, you will need to create an online 329 Application with Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Registry. There are a number of pages and steps to get through to register to smoke medical marijuana in Hawaii, including these potential roadblocks:
- Uploading copies of a valid driver license, state identification, or passport
- Entering a certifying doctor or APRN’s name that you have already established a patient-caregiver relationship with
- If applicable, uploading a Grow Site Certification Form and deciding whether you as the patient will grow plants or you will have a caregiver who grows marijuana plants in Hawaii for you
- Paying the registration fee of $38.50 for a one-year registration or $77.00 for a two-year registration. Note that if you provide incorrect information and need to make changes, a fee of $16.50 will be charged.
Step 3: Receive your 329 Registration Card and smoke weed from a Hawaii dispensary or your own marijuana plants.
The Hawaii Department of Health will review applications in the order they are received. If an application is incomplete, you will be notified via email and asked to re-submit the application with the proper changes, for an additional fee.
Once your application is approved, you can access your 329 Card in the same registry portal. You will want to print this card, and now you can legally use medical marijuana in Hawaii!
As a patient or a caregiver, you must have a valid ID and valid 329 Card on you if you have any medical marijuana. Note that Hawaii law enforcement has access to the Medical Cannabis Registry Program to verify whether people are in legal possession of marijuana. Also note that the 329 Card could be taken away or you could be denied entry into a dispensary if the card is falsified, changed, or used by another person.
In addition, the 329 Card will need to be renewed before it expires. Registered marijuana users in Hawaii will receive a notification in their email 60 days before their 329 card expires. Renewing a 329 card is similar to applying for the first time, and it is often easiest to use the same physician or APRN to certify your condition. Often the medical marijuana renewal will be approved for a two-year renewal if the following conditions are met:
- The same physician or APRN certifies you
- The condition is chronic in nature
- The physician or APRN states that a two-year 329 renewal is in the patient’s best interest
Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Now that you can legally use marijuana for medical conditions in Hawaii, you may be wondering how you can legally buy weed in Hawaii. There are a few legal medical marijuana dispensaries on all the major inhabited islands of Hawaii:
Oahu Marijuana Dispensaries
2113 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu HI 96815808-369-2888
Interstate Building, 1314 S. King St. Honolulu HI 96814808-369-2888
3131 North Nimitz Highway, Honolulu HI 96819
727 Kapahulu Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816808-208-8770
1308 Young Street, Honolulu, HI 96814808-800-2126
46-028 Kawa Street, Kaneohe HI 96744808-550-9860
Maui Marijuana Dispensaries
Maui Grown Therapies
44 Paa Street, Kahului, HI 96732
1087 Limahana Place, Unit 4B, Lahaina, HI 96761
Pono Life Maui
415 Dairy Road., Kahului, HI 96732
Hawaii Island (Big Island) Marijuana Dispensaries
578 Kanoelehua Ave., Hilo, HI 96720
73-5613 Olowalu Street, Ste. 7, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
64-1035 Mamalahoa Hwy., Unit J, Kamuela, HI 96743
Big Island Grown
750 Kanoelehua Ave., Ste. 104, Hilo, HI 96720
64-1040 Mamalahoa Hwy., Waimea, HI 96743
74-5617 Pawai Place., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Kauai Marijuana Dispensaries
Green Aloha + Dispensary
4-1565 Kuhio Hwy #3, Kapaa, HI 96746
How can I legally grow marijuana plants in Hawaii?
Before the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii was created in 2015 and the first legal weed was sold on Maui in August 2017, legal medical marijuana users had to grow their own plants or have a caregiver who grew the plants for them.
Illegally growing marijuana plants in Hawaii comes with steep fines and jail time. Growing 25-50 marijuana plants on your own property is a felony punishable with up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fee.
However, if you are a registered marijuana patient or caregiver, you have the ability to grow medical cannabis in Hawaii – but you must make sure you carefully comply with Hawaii’s laws. Here are some important details to legally grow marijuana in Hawaii:
- You must have indicated that you intended to grow your own supply of medical marijuana on your online registration for the 329 Card.
- You can grow an “adequate supply” of marijuana, which means no more than ten plants.
- You cannot have more than 4 ounces of usable marijuana between both the registered patient and the caregiver.
- You can only grow at the location designated on your 329 Card, and this location can only be the residence/owned or controlled site of the qualifying patient or the designated caregiver. You can only grow at one site.
- Each plant must be tagged with the 329 Card number and the expiration date, according to the Hawaii Department of Health tagging guidelines.
If you are a registered medical marijuana user, cultivating cannabis in Hawaii at your own personal residence might be the best option for a steady, economical supply of marijuana.
Recreational Marijuana Hawaii
Medical marijuana is legal in Hawaii, but when will it be legal to smoke marijuana recreationally in Hawaii? While it is not a crime to possess less than three grams of marijuana and the maximum fine for this violation is $130, it is ultimately illegal to use marijuana recreationally.
Different bills have been introduced to try to legalize recreational marijuana in Hawaii over the years, including in February 2021; however, a bill has never passed.
Therefore, if you are caught in possession of marijuana and you do not have a 329 Card for medical use of marijuana, you may face some hefty penalties in Hawaii. Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) 712 and 706 outline the consequences for being caught with marijuana in Hawaii:
Maximum Jail Time
Possessing <3 grams
Possessing from 3 grams to 1 oz.
Possessing 1 oz. to 1 lb.
Possessing >1 lb.
Commercially promoting marijuana is always a felony. Selling marijuana is a misdemeanor if it is less than one ounce, with a fine of up to $2,000 and 1 year in jail; however, selling more than 1 ounce is a felony that comes with hefty fines and jail time. Selling marijuana paraphernalia is also a felony with hefty fines and fees.
Weed in Hawaii
In conclusion, relaxing and smoking a joint on a private beach in Hawaii can be done legally if you are a registered medical marijuana patient with a 329 Card and obtained your marijuana in a legal way – either through a legal dispensary or through your own private plants.
However, recreational marijuana is not legal in Hawaii. It is not a crime to possess less than 3 ounces of marijuana, but if caught, you could face a fine of $130. Hawaiian paradise might evoke visions of puffing a joint and sailing away into the deep blue sea, but marijuana use is not completely legal in Hawaii.