Governor Ige Signs Medical Marijuana Bill into Law
Governor David Ige signed the long awaited medical marijuana bill HB321 into law Wednesday as Act 241.
The bill, turned law, will establish a licensing system for medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawai’i. It will also prohibit counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and production centers.
Under the recently signed law, individuals will also be allowed to legally transport medical marijuana in any public place under certain conditions by qualified patients, as well as primary caregivers of owners and employees of medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries.
“I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana,” said Governor Ige following the signing. “We know that our challenge going forward will be to adopt rules that are fair, cost effective, and easy to monitor. The bill sets a timeline. We will make a good faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”
Governing the program will be the Department of Health, who will establish administrative rules and procedures. Dispensaries can open as soon as July 15, 2016, one year from the signing.
The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai’i commented on the signing, stating that the development of Act 241 is the “single greatest leap forward for Hawai’i’s medical marijuana program since its inception in 2000.”
Carl Bergguist, MCCHI and Drug Policy Action Group Executive Director, released the following statement:
“In developing Act 241, lawmakers conducted a rigorous review of the 15-year-old program, seeking reports from the State auditor, studying recommendations from the Dispensary Task Force, and hearing direct input from the public,” said Bergguist. “Eighty-eight percent of Hawai‘i voters support safe, legal access to medication for Hawai’iʻs registered patients statewide, and now, thanks to this diligent effort, the Legislature has listened.
“Imagine being diagnosed with a debilitating disease, then being told that one of the medicines recommended by your doctor is only available if you grow it, or buy it – untested, uncertified – on the underground market. It sounds absurd, yet – without legal dispensaries – this has been daily life for 13,000+ registered patients in Hawai’iʻs medical marijuana program.”
Governor David Ige did not sign, nor veto, a handful of bills. The following will become law without the governor’s signature:
HB541- Relating to the University of Hawai‘i Tuition and Fees Special Fund:
Requires each UH campus to prepare an operations plan, to be reviewed by the President and VP for Budget and Finance and CFO of UH, for each fiscal year.
SB1092 – Relating to the Repeal of Non-General Funds:
Repeals or reclassifies various non-general funds in accordance with the Auditor’s recommendations in Auditor’s Report Nos. 14-05 and 14-13.
SB1297 – Relating to Disposition of Tax Revenues:
Amends the cigarette tax and tobacco tax law by changing the amount allocated to the trauma system special fund, and establishing maximum dollar amounts that shall be distributed among certain non-general funds after June 30, 2015.
SB118 – Relating to Real Estate Investment Trusts:
Requires and appropriates funds for DBEDT, with the assistance of DOTAX, to study the impact of real estate investment trusts in Hawaii.