How to Get a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card


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In Hawaii, the phrase pakalolo, or “crazy tobacco,” is a local term for cannabis. The state is also famous for its unique strains. However, medical marijuana users have faced an uphill battle to purchase weed legally for the best part of 20 years. In 2000, Ben Cayetano, the state’s governor at the time, signed Act 228 into law. It permitted MMJ cardholders to grow cannabis at home or appoint a caretaker to do it instead.

What Act 228 did NOT do was establish or make provisions for a legal marijuana market or dispensaries in the state. It was a strange situation as Hawaii was home to many artisanal home growers. They developed famous strains such as Puna Budder and Maui Wowee.

A 1979 edition of Rolling Stone described weed as the state’s #1 crop, ahead of pineapple and sugar.

After 15 years, Hawaii finally developed a system where MMJ cardholders could buy cannabis from licensed dispensaries.

Subsequent attempts to legalize recreational cannabis in HI have failed. On the plus side, possessing a tiny amount of weed no longer leads to jail time. Nonetheless, you need a Hawaii medical card if you want to buy and use the substance legally. This article outlines how to apply for one, but first, let’s check out the penalties for illegal cannabis use in HI.

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Hawaii Medical Marijuana Laws

Possession of up to three grams of marijuana in Hawaii is a violation, with a fine of $130. If you’re caught with more than this amount but less than an ounce, it is a misdemeanor that could land you in prison for up to 30 days. Possessing over an ounce but under a pound is a more serious offense with a possible jail term of one year. If convicted of possessing over a pound of weed, you could spend up to five years behind bars because it is a felony offense.

The commercial production of over a pound of weed is also a felony with a potential 5-year jail term. Furthermore, you could be jailed for up to a year on a serious misdemeanor charge if caught illegally selling any amount of marijuana. It becomes a felony charge if you sell more than an ounce.

Cultivating 25+ marijuana plants is a felony, with penalties becoming more severe the greater the number of plants. Incidentally, you could be sentenced to 20 years for growing 25+ plants on someone else’s property.

Hawaii is a state that allows for conditional release or diversion of first-time marijuana offenders. Therefore, if you complete your probation, your record is purged.

How to Get a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card

In Hawaii, the MMJ card was once called the “Blue Card” but is now known as the “329 card.” Here is a step-by-step guide to getting your 329 in Hawaii.

hawaii medical marijuana card

Step 1 – Sign up for a Hawaii State Government Account

The first step is to visit the official Hawaii government website. There, you register for the medical marijuana program. Until recently, only residents of Hawaii could participate in the program. However, in March 2019, the Hawaiian Department of Health (DOH) made a huge announcement. It opened its doors to MMJ users from out of state. We will explain this “visitor” card a little later on.

Step 2 – Schedule a Consultation

Your application won’t go anywhere until you get a certified doctor’s approval. You need to provide information on your medical condition. You must also include details on why you believe medical marijuana could help treat the symptoms. We outline the list of qualifying conditions a little later on.

The physician will complete their portion of the form and submit the full application to the Department of Health. In most cases, patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis. This means you receive a text message, or the doctor’s office calls you to arrange an appointment.

Step 3 – Complete Your Application

You require the following to complete your application:

  • An email address to set up an account.
  • Ideally, a desktop or laptop is needed to complete the form.
  • A photo of your I.D. card. Save it to your computer and upload it to the registry website.

Make sure you double-check everything when completing the application. The systems of most medical practices don’t allow physicians to edit forms. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian DOH expects perfection! The DOH wants a front-side picture of your Hawaii I.D. card. The name on the form must be an exact match for the name on your I.D. card.

If your I.D. card has an initial in the middle, and you enter the full middle name, for example, your application is rejected. It will delay your application by at least a month. This is apparently the most common reason for the registry returning applications.

Step 4 – Wait for a Physician’s Review

Once you apply, it goes to your physician for approval. They officially review it before sending it to the DOH. Most surgeries email you to confirm the submission of your application.

Step 5 – Visit a Dispensary

All 329 cards are sent directly to your home address. You can also print copies of the certificate. It is convenient to have several copies in case you lose one. At this point, you are finally allowed to purchase weed legally from one of the dispensaries in Hawaii. Given that the state is a collection of islands, we hope you live on one that has a licensed dispensary!

Who Can Apply for a Medical Marijuana Card in HI?

To apply for a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card, you must meet one of the qualifying conditions. Residents of Hawaii aged 18+ and regular visitors to the state are eligible. Minors can apply, but only with the help of a parent or guardian.

Cost of MMJ Card in HI

The medical marijuana card cost in HI involves making a $38.50 payment to the DOH with your application via EFT or debit/credit card. Doctors’ prices range from $150 to $200, although it is usually only veterans who pay the lower amount. The 329 card lasts a full year, and the expiration date is always the last day of the month.

HI MMJ Card Qualifying Conditions

When you attend a pre-screen with a physician, make sure you bring any medical documentation. This includes notes from previous doctor visits, trips to the chiropractor, ER visits, prescriptions, MRIs, scans, or X-rays to help support your diagnosis. You can obtain your medical records by contacting the hospital or physician where you received treatment and requesting your records.

hawaii medical marijuana card

The hospital in question should provide you with information on the process. They will ask you to sign an authorization that you can fax. At present, the list of HI medical marijuana card qualifying conditions is as follows:

  • Inflammatory bowel disorders
  • Glaucoma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic nausea
  • Seizure disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • ALS
  • Lupus
  • Epilepsy
  • Fibromyalgia and painful neuropathies
  • Illnesses and injuries related to military service, including PTSD
  • Profound wasting disorders
  • Chronic, disabling pain and muscle spasms
  • Asthma under certain conditions
  • Cachexia or wasting syndrome

Many Hawaiian physicians are unwilling to authorize a 329 card for patients under 30. This is unless they have a “compelling” reason for doing so.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in HI?

Once you have submitted your application, it can take anywhere from two to five weeks to receive your MMJ card. However, the average wait time is approximately three weeks.

How to Renew my Hawaii Medical Card?

You are allowed to apply for a renewal 60 days in advance, and we recommend doing so as soon as possible. It takes up to 5 weeks for your renewal to be approved and your new card to be sent to you. When it is time to renew, you have the option to renew for two years. It costs $77.

You can only opt for a two-year renewal if you are:

  • Renewing with the same doctor or APRN who approved you last year.
  • Your physician or APRN says your condition is chronic.
  • Your physician or APRN agrees that a two-year renewal is in your best interest.

Other Information on the HI Medical Marijuana License Process

While the application process is relatively straightforward, there is a lot of important information relating to the program that many MMJ patients are unaware of. We aim to clear up as much confusion as possible in this FAQ.

What Types of Cannabis Can I Purchase in HI?

Hawaii MMJ cardholders have a variety of consumption options. Apart from dry flower, you can purchase marijuana concentrate and edibles.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in HI Online

Hawaii introduced an electronic card in March 2019, greatly speeding up the application process. Before this important change, the application process was a slow one. It took around 25 days to receive your 329 card.

how to get a medical marijuanas card in hawaii

Electronic cards have the same information as hard copies but do not require waiting for snail mail delivery. This dramatically speeds up the overall process.

Slowly but surely, providers are allowing prospective MMJ patients to complete their doctor’s consultation online.

Can I Register My Child for Medical Marijuana in HI?

Minors are allowed on the program, but only with a statement from a parent/guardian. It must state that a physician has explained the benefits and risks of cannabis. Also, MMJ patients under the age of 18 must have a caregiver.

Where Can I Purchase MMJ in Hawaii?

At present, eight organizations have Hawaii MMJ dispensary licenses, with some of these companies having more than one storefront.

How Much Cannabis Can I Buy & Possess?

Registered patients can purchase a maximum of four ounces of cannabis (or 3.5 grams of concentrate) within a period of 15 consecutive days. MMJ cardholders and caregivers can possess up to four ounces of weed.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Hawaii with a Medical Marijuana Card?

Yes. You are permitted to grow a maximum of 10 plants. However, you must outline your intent to grow and provide the DOH with the location where you intend to cultivate your plants. All plants must be grown in one location and tagged with your card number and expiration date.

Where Can I Use My MMJ?

At present, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Hawaii. MMJ patients can’t use weed in public places or in moving vehicles. The substance is also banned from beaches, recreation centers, school grounds, workplaces, and public parks.

Can I Take My MMJ to a Different State?

To join the program, out-of-state medical cannabis users must apply online. They pay $49.50 for a temporary MMJ card, which lasts 60 days. It is known as the 329-V card.

It is a 10-minute online process that enables you to buy cannabis from any licensed Hawaiian dispensary. The caveat is that you must qualify for MMJ in one of America’s legal states and jurisdictions. Also, you are only eligible if planning to stay in Hawaii for less than 120 days.

You must complete your application 60+ days before traveling to Hawaii. If you visit more than twice a year, applying for a HI medical marijuana card is possible.

What Are the Caregiver Rules?

Hawaii medical marijuana card patients can use a caregiver to help them manage their well-being concerning the use of medical marijuana. Caregivers must be aged 18+, and the patient has to designate them on the application.

Furthermore, caregivers can only help one MMJ cardholder at a time unless they are also caring for a minor patient. Adding a caregiver to your application does not incur an additional fee.

At present, caregivers can grow marijuana on behalf of the MMJ patient. However, this will no longer be the case from January 1, 2024.

What if I Lose My Medical Card in Hawaii?

If you lose your MMJ card in Hawaii, contact the DOH to get a copy. This process requires completing a Change Form Packet and submitting it to the program. It costs $16.50, and your medical provider cannot help you.

When Did Medical Marijuana in Hawaii Become Legal?

The Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program for the state (Act 241) was finally created in 2015. It enabled those who qualified for medical marijuana to register for the Hawaiian Medical Cannabis Program.

Act 241 stated that the Hawaii Department of Health would implement the program in 2016. It meant the opening of dispensaries by June of that year.

Additionally, Senate Bill 321 authorized eight dispensaries in the state, each designated by island, and finally established a dispensary system. However, it wasn’t until August 2017 that a dispensary made the first legal medicinal marijuana sale in Hawaii.

Several attempts have been made to legalize recreational marijuana, but none have succeeded. The most recent failure is perhaps the most disappointing to date. In March 2023, the Hawaii Senate voted in favor of the bill.

However, it wasn’t scheduled for a House hearing before an important legislative deadline. Thus, the proposal is dead until 2024 at the earliest. Also, the adult-use marijuana bill will encounter stiff resistance in the House when it finally makes it that far.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card in Honolulu

Honolulu has an abundance of wellness centers that offer consultations to prospective MMJ patients. Finding a licensed dispensary once you receive your card is also fairly easy.

MMJ Card for Veterans in HI

Veterans seeking an MMJ card in Hawaii should go through the standard process. However, many organizations offer a consultation fee discount for military veterans.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card

Even though Hawaii technically permitted medical marijuana use at the start of the 21st century, it was impossible to legally buy it from dispensaries for another decade and a half. The state’s MMJ program is finally up and running and allows extremely generous cultivation and purchasing limits relative to other states.

If you want to grow up to 10 plants and buy four ounces of marijuana every 15 days, apply for your Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card today.

Need a Medical Marijuana Card ?

Let us help by Starting Here
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