Pubdate: Sat, 28 Apr 2018
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2018 Star Advertiser
Author: Kristen Consillio


Out-of-state marijuana patients visiting Hawaii soon may be allowed to
buy their medicinal pot at local dispensaries, a potential boon to the
fledgling cannabis industry.

A bill allowing so-called reciprocity has gained enough support to
become law, passing out of a key legislative committee Friday and
positioned for a full legislative vote. If the bill passes the
Legislature, it would go to the governor for final approval.

The bill establishes a process that requires the state Health
Department to register out-of-state patients and caregivers so
tourists would be able to purchase and use the drug legally while in
the islands. Currently, only local marijuana cardholders can legally
use pakalolo.

"It could be a boon for this industry and for this state, but it needs
to be done well. Under the original law, reciprocity should have been
in effect since Jan. 1," said Helen Cho, spokeswoman for Aloha Green
Apothecary, Oahu's first dispensary. "We don't know how long it will
take for the state to be able to accept visitors, especially when the
version being considered now is extremely restrictive."

While voting for reciprocity, lawmakers cut out other parts of the
legislation, including provisions that would have:

Prohibited employers from firing workers with cannabis cards who test
positive for the drug.

Allow dispensaries to sell edibles.

Lawmakers instead requested another working group to study those

"We are extremely disappointed that employee protections and edibles
have been consigned to yet another working group," said Carl
Bergquist, executive director of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, who
was part of a legislative group established two years ago to study the
issues. "It is hard to overstate how much current and prospective
patients aE& would benefit from being able to buy quality controlled
edibles from dispensaries and from having minimal protections against
being arbitrarily fired for using a medicine that has been legal in
Hawaii for nearly 20 years."

The state is sending mixed messages to patients, he said.

"It's hard to overestimate how important both of those are in a state
where we have really strong anti-smoking policies," he said. "This
bill would neither have allowed a patient to use their medical
cannabis at work nor to be impaired on the job. Any notion that a
positive test for cannabis, especially for a registered medical
cannabis patient, correlates with job performance is one based on fear
and stigma."
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MAP posted-by: Matt