Edible medical cannabis sales approved by Hawaii Senate committee

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

A Hawaii state senate committee has given preliminary approval to a medical cannabis bill that would legalize the sale of edible products. However, even if the Legislature approves the bill, patients shouldn’t expect to get their hands on edible cannabis in Hawaii for quite some time afterwards.

According to the Chairwoman for Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee, Rosalyn Baker, rules and regulations must first be hashed out by the state Department of Health. Only when this has happened will patients have the opportunity to buy edible cannabis products in Hawaii’s dispensaries, says the Democratic chairwoman.

Guidelines on cannabis edibles in Hawaii to be set by health department

Based on language contained in the bill to legalize cannabis edibles in Hawaii, licensed dispensaries would be legally allowed to sell ingestible cannabis-infused products; so long as they are labeled accurately and are packaged in a child-proof way.

Guidelines relating to the dosages, packaging and ingredients contained in Hawaii’s cannabis edibles bill will be imposed by the health department, according to Baker. The Department stresses the importance of setting regulations of this kind, what with pre-approval being required by over half of the legal cannabis programs that currently exist across the U.S. 

Bill to legalize sales of edible cannabis in Hawaii is awaiting consideration 

Before Hawaii’s cannabis edibles bill can progress further, it must first be approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. Advocates are currently waiting for committee members to consider the benefits of legalizing sales of edible cannabis in Hawaii.

The proposal is supported by the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association; all eight of Hawaii’s state-licensed cannabis dispensaries are represented by the Association. Unfortunately, not everybody backs the bill, including the state Department of Transportation and Honolulu Police Department. 

Concerns have been raised by the Department of Transportation about the potential negative impact that sales of cannabis edibles may have on road safety, with officials stating that the effects of some products might not surface for hours after consumption.

Ingestible cannabis products are absorbed through the stomach lining, before being absorbed into the bloodstream via the liver; a long process that means the effects of edibles may take anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours to be felt.

Hawaii’s medical cannabis patients are being provided with extra privileges 

Edibles aside, Hawaii’s medical cannabis market is certainly evolving. In recent news, the state of Hawaii has introduced a bill that would provide workplace protections for medical cannabis patients. Employees who regularly use medical cannabis in Hawaii could avoid dismissal if Senate Bill 2543 (SB2543) is enacted into law.

In the event that a worker returns a positive drug test result for cannabis, SB2543 would safeguard that individual; so long as he or she possesses a state-issued patient card. Individuals who work in “potentially dangerous occupations” would be required to partake in a drug test that determines whether or not he/she is fit for duty. SB2543 is designed to “[prohibit] an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or condition of employment based on the person’s status as a medical cannabis cardholder, under certain conditions,” according to a statement written on the Hawaii State Legislature website.

Although SB2543 has already gained approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Commerce, and Consumer Protection and Health Committee, amendments are required before it can be enacted. If it is implemented, it remains uncertain as to whether or not workers could be spared their job for consuming cannabis edibles in Hawaii; this will be better understood once Hawaii’s cannabis edibles bill is reviewed by the Senate Committee.