Hawaii’s House of Representative Speak Joe Souki stated the need to legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Hawaii Legislature this week. Joe Souki pointed out that while over 12,000 Hawaii residents are medical marijuana patients, they have to grow their own marijuana or go without. That’s a flaw in the current law.
My home state of Oregon operated under similar rules for over a decade. Patients could grow medical marijuana since medical marijuana became legal in Oregon, but it wasn’t until the 2013 legislative session that dispensaries became legal. This resulted in problems for a lot of patients who did not have reliable, safe access to their medicine. Hopefully Hawaii fixes this issue just as Oregon did via the legislative process.
When a state doesn’t have dispensaries, or doesn’t allow medical marijuana patients to grow their own medicine, the program will not function properly. Some people are green thumbs, so forcing them to only buy marijuana at dispensaries (like New Jersey) is unfair, as these people can save a lot of money by growing their own medicine, and know exactly what they are consuming. However, other people are horrible at growing anything, marijuana or otherwise, and these type of patients need to be able to go to a safe access point and get reliable access to their medicine. To take away either of these options is irresponsible.
If you live in Hawaii, make sure to put pressure on your legislators to get on board with Mr. Souki’s plan. Ask them to co-sponsor any bill that is introduced by Mr. Souki that relates to medical marijuana dispensaries (assuming it’s a good bill!). If you are a patient in Hawaii that is going without medicine because you don’t have the ability/resources to grow your own medicine, make sure to tell your story. Stories are powerful!