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10 Things You Should Absolutely Know About Hawaii Cannabis Laws

1. How much can you carry?

As of January 2020, Hawaii decriminalized cannabis statewide. The law eliminated criminal penalties for possession of three grams or less. Three grams is the smallest amount to be decriminalized in the entire nation. Possession of those small amounts will only be punishable by fines of no more than $130 while Hawaii’s current law says possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is punishable by 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Cardholding Patients however can buy up to four ounces of cannabis in any form every 15 days. You can legally carry up to 4 ounces at any time but they must be transported in a sealed container and must not be publicly visible. A good rule to remember is, “carry your card to carry your stash.”

2. Know when NOT to bring your stash

For a lot of patients, there is a sense of security that comes with having your 329 Card but there are some places and cases when you can’t legally possess cannabis. For example, if you’re on the Big Island of Hawaii, it is actually illegal to drive over Saddle Road with any cannabis. Because the road runs through about 1000 feet of Federally owned property by the Pohakuloa military base, it is technically a federal crime to do so. In fact, it is illegal to bring cannabis onto any federal property and over 20% of Hawaii is owned by the federal government! So leave your stash at home if you plan to visit the Volcano National Park, military bases, any U.S. Fish and Wildlife conservation areas or the Post Office.

3. Don’t forget to renew your card

Once you have your card, 329 cards must be renewed annually. Patients may be eligible for a two-year renewal if:

  • The patient is renewing with the same doctor who certified them in a previous year; and
  • The certifying physician/APRN states that the patient’s condition is chronic in nature; and
  • The certifying physician/APRN agrees that a two-year 329 registration is in the patient’s best interest.

4. No Card? No Access

This one is especially hard for tourists visiting from states where adult-use is legal but in Hawaii, you can’t enter a dispensary without a 329 card. In fact, you will also need your State ID or Passport to even step foot onto a sales floor. Don’t even try with social security cards, birth certificates or other forms of ID because it is illegal for dispensaries to let you in without valid, government issued, photo ID.

5. Out of State Medical Cards Welcome

You can use an out of state Medical Marijuana card at any of Hawaii’s dispensaries with a little extra paperwork and a small fee. Travelers may apply for a $49.50 medical card before their visit to Hawaii dispensaries. Visitors planning to travel to Hawaii may apply for a card up to 60 days before their trip. Cards are good for 60 days from the start date you request and usually only take a couple days to be issued.

6. Smoke em if you got em

You will have to finish what you have before island hopping because you can’t legally travel inter-island with cannabis even with a 329 card. Since air travel falls under federal jurisdiction, and under federal law, it is illegal to possess or transport any amount of cannabis even when staying within the state.

7. No smoking in Public

As tempting as it may be to burn one on the beach, it is illegal to smoke in public. If you’re visiting, it’s a good idea to check with your hotel or BnB agreement as well. Also, there is no smoking in a moving vehicle. In fact Driving Under the Influence of cannabis carries the same penalties as drunk driving.

8. Renters Have Rights

While there is no job protection written into the Hawaii State law for medical cannabis patients there is housing protection from uptight landlords. No landlord can evict a person due to their medical cannabis use but be aware that there is very likely a no smoking clause written into your rental agreement. Also, if your housing is federally subsidized, then the federal laws prohibiting marijuana would apply, and would likely override Hawaii’s law.

9. Know Your Medicine

Before reaching the dispensaries, all medical marijuana flower and concentrates go through a rigorous testing for mold, pesticides, toxins, bacteria, moisture content, cannabinoid profile (including THC), and other compounds that are considered “active ingredients.” The results of the test are labeled on the packaging along with the date of harvest and date of packaging so you know exactly how fresh your flower is.

10. You can bear arms OR buds. Not both.

Those with 329 cards cannot register firearms in Hawaii. If you already have a Medical Marijuana card, and you try to register a new firearm with the Hawaii Police Department, they will block the registration because of a 9th Circuit ruling in 2011 that cited unprovable assumptions connecting cannabis and violence. Despite the growing acceptance of cannabis all over the country, it is still federally classified as a Schedule 1 substance. There have been no proven cases of authorities taking away firearms from 329 cardholders, so if you already own guns, you can get a 329 card without any issue.

In conclusion, having a 329 card grants you a lot of rights and an overall sense of freedom that helps normalize plant medicine but it does not make you invincible to federal or state laws. Until Hawaii legalizes recreational/adult-use consumption or it becomes federally legal, it is good to know the rules of the game so that you can protect yourself and your rights.

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