By Anthony Martinelli

A Hawaii bill to add five new conditions that qualify someone to become a medical cannabis patient, along with making some other changes to the state’s medical marijuana law, has been passed by three Senate committees.

A couple weeks ago we reported that House Bill 1488 was passed unanimously by the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee, following its passage in the full House of Representatives. Now, the proposal has been approved by both the Senate Judicial Law Committee, and the Senate Ways and Means Committee – both unanimously. The proposal will soon be up for a vote by the full Senate; if they give it approval, as expected, it will go to Governor David Ige for consideration.

House Bill 1488 would amend “he definition of “adequate supply” of marijuana to “include seven marijuana seedlings”, and would also amend the definition of “debilitating medical condition under the state’s medical cannabis law to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and autism.

In addition, the measure would amend the definition of the term “transport” to allow qualified patients and primary caregivers to “transport up to one gram of medical marijuana for laboratory testing under certain conditions.”

Below is a summary of other changes the bill would make:

Limits each location used to cultivate marijuana to use by five qualifying patients. Authorizes primary caregivers to cultivate marijuana for qualifying patients until December 31, 2020. Adds considerations for establishing marijuana testing standards and selecting additional dispensary licensees. Allows DOH to consider whether existing dispensary licensees shall be allowed to increase plant count; increase the number of production centers, or increase the number of retail dispensing locations. Requires retention of video security recordings of production centers and dispensaries for 45 days. Extends civil service exemptions and interim rulemaking authority to 2020. Authorizes an alternate medical marijuana dispensary tracking system for use when the DOH computer tracking system in nonfunctional; and requires DOH to report to the legislative oversight working group.

A similar measure (Senate Bill 174) to add lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and arthritis as qualifying medical cannabis conditions – without making the some of the other changes in House Bill 1488 such as amending adequate supply to include seven seedlings – has passed both the House and Senate, though the Senate recently refused to accept the House’s amendments (which included removing autism as a qualifying condition).

The House now has the options of passing the bill free of the amendments they approved, or refusing to do so which would put it back in the hands of the Senate which would potentially kill it. If that does happen, it may not be the worst thing with House Bill 1488 moving along briskly.

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