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Department of Health to Implement New Retail Medical Cannabis Rules

Wayne Yoshioka

Hawai’i’s six operating retail Medical Cannabis Dispensaries are now selling products that function like inhalers or nebulizers.  These products vaporize the cannabis oils and are available to the more than 21-thousand registered patients statewide.  The State Department of Health is also in the process of implementing new rules and computer technologies to reduce the current 25-day application and approval wait-times.  Peter Whitaker is Chief of the Harm Reduction Branch.

“Any applicants who have a diagnosis of cancer, who are minors or are in Hospice are prioritized.  They are pulled out of the cue and the will receive their cards, generally, in one to two days.  And, perhaps the most exciting innovation that is, I think, going to dramatically

Credit Wayne Yoshioka
Peter Whitaker, Harm Reduction Services Chief, Department of Health

change the turnaround time is, we are looking, in Hawai’i, at having electronic patient registration cards.   As far as I know, we would be the first state in the country to move to electronic cards.

The Department is also working on computerized upgrades and rules that would allow an estimated 30-thousand out-of-state certified medical cannabis patients to purchase products in Hawai’i.  The cost to out-of-state patients would be the same as local residents, less than 50-dollars in fees. The implementation date is scheduled for early next year. 

Wayne Yoshioka
Wayne Yoshioka is an award-winning journalist who has worked in television, print and radio in Hawaiʻi. He also has been on both sides of politics as a state departmental appointee and political/government reporter. He covered Hurricane Iwa (1982) as a TV reporter; was the State Department of Defense/Civil Defense spokesperson for Hurricane Iniki (1992); and, commanded a public affairs detachment in Afghanistan (2006). He has a master's degree in Communication from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and is a decorated combat veteran (Legion of Merit, Bronze Star and 22 other commendation/service medals). He resides in Honolulu.
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