Hawaii medical marijuana patients now have greater access to the plant thanks to two bills signed into law last week.
Among the changes: patients can now grow more cannabis at home and possession limits increased by an ounce.
Gov. Neil Abercromie Tuesday signed House Bill 668, which transfers medical marijuana oversight from the state Department of Public Safety to the Department of Public Health, and House Bill 642, which increases patient possession amounts from thee to four ounces and personal cultivation limits from three plants to seven.
The chair of the state Health Committee, Della Au Belatti, said the bill was a way of modernizing the state’s medical marijuana program.
“Today’s bills represent a significant step forward in improving Hawaii’s medical marijuana program and aligning it with best practices of medical cannabis programs in other states,” she said in a prepared statement. “By refocusing the program on medical matters such as the role of the primary physician and the role of the Department of Health in providing regulation and program oversight, the state can better ensure the compassionate treatment of people suffering from debilitating health conditions.”
Pam Lichty, head of the Drug Policy Action Group in Hawaii, told Maui Now that she is working with lawmakers to create a state-regulated medical marijuana dispensary system bill for next year’s session.
Recent polls by the ACLU Hawaii showed that 81 percent of voters support medical marijuana laws and 78 percent would support a state dispensary system.
While the move is definitely a step in the right direction, the changes don’t actually take place until January 2015.