Traveling to Hawaii just got a whole lot easier for out-of-state medical marijuana patients. The state Department of Health announced this week that Hawaii will now allow visitors who are qualified to receive medical marijuana elsewhere in the US to register and buy it while visiting the islands.
For a $49.50 application fee, out-of-state patients can apply for registration up to 60 days before visiting.
Also announced Tuesday: an online registration system designed to allow qualified patients to quickly obtain an electronic registration card.
The new system allows out-of-state patients to register before arriving in Hawaii, so they can purchase from certified dispensaries once they are in the state, the department said.
“The introduction of Hawaii’s electronic medical cannabis card is a major step in improving access to medical cannabis for qualified patients in Hawaii and out-of-state patients in the 37 other jurisdictions where medical cannabis is allowed,” said Bruce Anderson, director of the state Department of Health.
The jurisdictions that allow medical marijuana include 33 other states, Washington, DC, and four US territories.
For a $49.50 application fee, out-of-state patients can apply for registration up to 60 days before visiting. The state requires applicants to submit an ID and their medical marijuana registration from their home state.
The registration card is valid for 60 days, and patients can apply twice in a calendar year. The state allows the purchase of up to 4 ounces (113 grams) of cannabis for each 15-day period.
“Dispensaries will also help educate visitors on state laws and regulations that govern the use of medical cannabis in Hawaii, such as restrictions on public use and transport,” said Tami Whitney, of the department’s Medical Cannabis Registry Program.
Dispensaries sold 1,569 pounds (711.7 kilograms) of medical marijuana for $12.6 million last year, according to department figures.
What You Need to Know
The online registration process won’t take long, according to the Health Department’s announcement. The state says electronic registration cards, rather than physical IDs, will allow out-of-state patients to obtain documents “quickly and easily, often within the same day,” though it goes on to say that approval time will depend on the volume of applications received.
“For many patients who rely on medical cannabis to treat their qualifying health conditions,” department officials said, “time is of the essence.”
In an effort to make the process as painless as possible, the state has also put together a video tutorial to help out-of-state patients navigate the registration process.
The portal can be accessed online through the Department of Health’s website. Out-of-state patients will need to create an online account and submit supporting documentation showing they’re eligible, including a valid cannabis registration card from another US state or territory, a government-issued ID, and certification “in your ‘home’ state as having one or more debilitating medical conditions identified in Hawaii State Law.”
If you’re a Canadian resident, well… you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Even under the expanded eligibility rules, Hawaii does not currently accept international medical cannabis registration cards.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.