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Watching Our Legislature on Medical Marijuana

It’s an interesting process. If you thought the medical marijuana issue was settled in Hawaii long ago, well, it was and it wasn’t. When we legalized marijuana the details of exactly how it would be handled were a bit smooshy. This has been clarified somewhat since 2000, but the battles remain. Sometimes a tricky legislator can slip something into another bill that will radically alter the landscape.

Keeping an eye on current legislation, Hawaii News Daily gives us a rundown.

House Bill 1963 caused an uproar but seems to be off the agenda for now. It required physicians who prescribe medical marijuana to register any location where they might do so. Sounds innocent enough until you realize that this would prohibit house-call generated prescriptions or clinic visits unless a doctor registered each site it also sought to limit the diagnoses for which marijuana was an appropriate treatment.

House Bill 2600 originally had a section that mimicked the registered location requirement mentioned previously, but this has been dropped.

Senate Bill 2262 is supported by medical marijuana advocates. It ties marijuana to previous legislation that authorizes how pain medications will be handled in the state. Marijuana, in and of itself, is not considered a pain medication, although it is used that way by patients. Other effects besides pain relief, such as improving appetite or fighting insomnia, keep in out of the strict pain relief category. This bill amends that.

And so the fights continue. Minor and major modifications to the legal status of marijuana in Hawaii play out in the State Legislature every session. But proponents of medical marijuana are organized and on top of the issues. No one really trusts our state government to keep its mitts off the current law. In some ways, legislators see it as their duty to change things around.

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