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Online Registration Accelerates Access to Medical Cannabis

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Hawai‘i Department of Health’s new online registration accelerates access to medical cannabis for Hawai‘i residents and enables qualified out-of-state patients to register and buy medical cannabis in Hawai‘i

The Hawai‘i Department of Health took its medical cannabis registry program to a new level on March 5, 2019, with two innovations: opening registration for the first time to qualified out-of-state patients, and an advanced online system with an electronic registration card for qualified in-state and out-of-state patients.

Qualified patients who register using the new system will be among the first in the nation to have the convenience of accessing their medical cannabis cards electronically.

The new system allows qualified patients to obtain an electronic registration card quickly and easily, often within the same day. The electronic registration card will eliminate the wait time for patients to receive their hard copy registration card in the mail. For many patients who rely on medical cannabis to treat their qualifying health conditions, time is of the essence.

“The introduction of Hawai‘i’s electronic medical cannabis card is a major step in improving access to medical cannabis for qualified patients in Hawai‘i and out-of-state patients in the 37 other jurisdictions where medical cannabis is allowed,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. These include 32 other states, four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. These patients may now legally obtain medical cannabis from any of the local licensed retail dispensaries while visiting the islands.


“Local dispensaries can now verify registered in-state and out-of-state patients with electronic cards and allow purchases of medical cannabis,” said Tami Whitney of the department’s Medical Cannabis Registry Program. “Dispensaries will also help educate visitors on state laws and regulations that govern the use of medical cannabis in Hawai‘i, such as restrictions on public use and transport.”

DOH’s Harm Reduction Services Branch Medical Cannabis Registry Program team expedited the implementation of amended Hawai‘i administrative rules and developed the IT system enhancements needed to put the out-of-state patient registration system in place in less than eight months. Gov. David Ige signed the amended medical cannabis law permitting the program to establish a process for registering out-of-state patients in July 2018.

“The electronic registration cards contain the same verifiable information as the hard copy cards that we have issued since 2015, but we’ve taken a major step forward to modernize the process and improve the patient experience,” said Peter Whiticar, chief of the Harm Reduction Services Branch. “We can now, for the first time, invite qualified out-of-state patients to apply up to 60 days prior to their visit to Hawai‘i and get their cards online prior to arrival.”

Online Video Tutorial


A new web page contains a video tutorial to help qualified out-of-state patients successfully complete their application online and obtain an electronic medical cannabis registration card.

Out-of-state patient applicants must be certified in the medical cannabis program in their home state or territory with a qualifying medical condition that is also an approved qualifying condition in Hawai‘i. The list of approved qualifying medical conditions in Hawai‘i is available online.

Out-of-state applicants must upload a current valid medical cannabis registration from their home state or U.S. territory and a valid government-issued identification or driver’s license from the same state or territory. Out-of-state minors can also apply if they meet specific eligibility criteria.

Out-of-state patients may apply online up to 60 days before their visit to Hawai‘i. On the application form, patients may request the date they would like their Hawai‘i registration card to become valid to coincide with their visit to Hawai‘i. The out-of-state registration card is valid for up to 60 days or until their home state or territory medical cannabis registration expires, whichever date comes first. Out-of-state patients may apply for a Hawai‘i registration card twice in a calendar year.


Application fees including processing are $38.50 for in-state patients and $49.50 for out-of-state patients. Fees must be paid by credit, debit card or e-check.

Faster Registration Card Turnaround Time

Beginning on March 5, all qualified patients who correctly complete their application can expect to receive access to their new electronic registration card shortly after approval, depending on the volume of applications received.

After submitting an application, the applicant will receive an e-mail notification from the registration system as soon as the application has been reviewed and eligibility has been determined. If the application has been approved, the notification will include a web link providing the patient electronic access to the card. The patient can then save the card to a mobile device (such as a smart phone or tablet) or print it. This will eliminate delays associated with mailing hard copy cards. The electronic cards will be maintained on the website for the duration of the card’s validity and can be accessed 24/7 in the event a patient’s printed card or phone is lost, stolen or damaged. This will eliminate the need for patients to apply and wait for replacement cards to arrive in the mail.

All electronic cards contain a unique patient registration number, name, date of birth and expiration date that dispensaries are required to verify against a valid government-issued identification card and against the registry database prior to admitting the patient into the dispensary. Through the registry database, the information on the electronic cards can also be used by law enforcement to verify that the individual is permitted to purchase and possess medical cannabis.

All in-state or out-of-state patients registered in Hawai‘i are permitted to purchase up to 4 ounces of medical cannabis during a period of 15 consecutive days or up to eight ounces over 30 consecutive days. No patients can legally possess more than 4 ounces of usable medical cannabis at any given time. Unlike registered in-state patients, out-of-state patients are not allowed to grow or cultivate medical cannabis.


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