The tides are finally changing on the shores of Hawaii when it comes to medicinal cannabis. The Aloha State has had medicinal cannabis for a long time now, but it wasn’t until recently that they’ve gotten their dispensaries approved and about to be up and running. Ever since 2000 Hawaiians have had the opportunity to get medical recommendations for cannabis, but they were expected to grow their own. They could also get access to cannabis from a designated caregiver, but even that is a pretty daunting task to find someone that you trust with your medicine. Not to mention the fact that a caregiver isn’t likely to have anywhere near the level of variety that the typical dispensary would have. Now that patients have access to dispensaries a new problem has arisen. Apparently there are tons of people that are eager to get their medical recommendations, but few doctors that are willing to meet the demand. Most likely the problem is that the doctors of Hawaii are hesitant to risk their livelihood by getting involved with a drug that is still federally illegal.
It makes sense that so many doctors are timid to dive into the realm of medical marijuana, especially considering that the DEA is continuing to drag its feet to reschedule cannabis from a schedule 1 drug, but fortunately a new bill that was just passed now allows nurses in Hawaii to recommend cannabis to patients. The new bill will help deal with the hundreds of recommendation seeking people that are being turned down daily by doctors. Many of these patients have had to turn to the black market to get their medicine and are already using cannabis to treat their ailments, but obviously would prefer to have their needs legitimized through the medical marijuana system set in place. Hopefully doctors will soon embrace cannabis as a helpful medicine and get over their skepticism, but until then it looks like nurses will be filling that role. I would like to think there is some happy medium out there where doctors can continue practicing medicine as they always have and still be able to write recommendations for people in need of cannabis. Unfortunately it seems that many times doctors either avoid any involvement with the plant or go full throttle into becoming weed doctors that operate clinics for the sole purpose of writing recommendations.
It might be a while before we find that happy medium because the medicinal marijuana systems vary an incredible amount from state to state. There is very little consistency, which is what is scaring many of these doctors away in the first place. Hawaii Dispensaries are allowed to finally open up on Friday. I expect that the surge of people that want their recommendations will only continue to increase these next few weeks, so this bill was passed just in time. The next big step on the medical cannabis front in Hawaii is getting the state to allow the sale of edibles. For now we’ll celebrate our tiny victories one step at a time.