Medical cannabis patients visiting the Aloha State will be able to purchase their medicine during their stay after Hawaii officials unveiled their out-of-state medical program on Tuesday.
Hawaii has one of the fastest growing medical programs with $12.6 million in sales last year and more than 1,500 pounds of medical cannabis sold in the state. Officials have said that shortages have so far not been an issue and it’s unlikely that they’ll see a shortage issue anytime soon. As such, the state officially opened their medical cannabis registration program to patients from outside of the state.
“It’s the no. 1 frequently asked questions for each dispensary,” said Michael Takano, CEO of Hawaiian medical cannabis dispensary Pono Life Sciences. “Each and every day, every dispensary gets inquiries from out-of-state patients. That want access to safe, legal products. How does it work? How do I get it?”
The announcement was made along with the unveiling of the state’s new electronic registration card for medical cannabis patients, making them one of the first states to have a fully electronic system for medical cannabis registration. The new system will contain all of the same information that is currently on the physical cards, but eliminates the delay for patients having to wait until their card arrives in the mail.
“If you registered for a card or lost your paper card, you would have to wait for a couple of weeks before the new one came in the mail,” said CEO of Big Island dispensary Big Island Grown, Dylan Shropshire. “And if you’re dependent on that medication to treat an illness, that’s not ideal.”
Shropshire, believes that the new system will not only benefit the patients on the island, but will be a huge boost for the economy in the state.
“We’ve had people from out of state come and try to buy from us and we’ve had to tell them that there’s nothing we can do,” he said. “We can’t even let them into the dispensary if they’re not registered.”
The program now allows for out-of-state patients to pre-registers online and once the registrations is approved, they will receive a 60-day medical card that can be used at any licensed retailer in Hawaii, as long as the patient is properly registered in their home state.
“The introduction of Hawaii’s electronic medical cannabis card is a major step in improving access to medical cannabis for qualified patients in Hawaii and out-of-state patients in the other 37 jurisdictions where medical cannabis is allowed,” said state Health Department Director Bruce Anderson in a release. “These patients may now legally obtain medical cannabis from any of the local licensed retail dispensaries while visiting the islands.”