Jenny Bloom

October 7, 2019

In the State of Hawaii, cannabis is a Schedule I hallucinogenic drug. It’s monitored by the Hawaii Uniform Controlled Substances Act. All use and possession of marijuana is illegal unless the user is a qualifying patient in the state’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program.

Through the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Registry Program, patients with debilitating, chronic conditions may legally access, buy, possess and use cannabis. A patient must obtain a doctor’s recommendation to treat those qualifying conditions with marijuana. Once registered, they may grow or purchase their marijuana. All purchases must be made at state-licensed dispensaries, which have yet to become operational.

Possessing Marijuana in Hawaii

Unless the person is in the state’s medical marijuana program, it is illegal to possess cannabis in Hawaii. The penalties for cannabis possession for personal use are as follows:

• Under 1 ounce = Petty Misdemeanor: Fine of $1,000 and up to 30 days in jail

• Between 1 ounce to 1 pound = Misdemeanor: Fine of $2,000 and/or up to 1 year incarceration

• Over 1 pound = Felony: Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years in prison

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A person may be charged with possession of marijuana if the drug is found in a vehicle. However, if the cannabis is on the person of an occupant of the vehicle or within a closed compartment only accessible by the occupant of that vehicle (not the driver), no possession charges will be filed on the driver.

Possession with intent to distribute is a felony in Hawaii. The state punishes these felony crimes as follows:

• Between 1 to 2 pounds = Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years’ imprisonment

• Between 2 to 25 pounds = Fine of $25,000 and/or up to 10 years’ incarceration

• Over 25 pounds = Fine of $50,000 and/or 20 years’ prison time

If the possession with intent to distribute occurred within 750 feet of a park or school grounds, this felony is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison. The same goes for committing this offense within 10 feet of a school vehicle that’s parked.

Hash & Concentrates

Marijuana concentrates and hashish are classified as Schedule I drugs according to Hawaii state law. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), hashish, any other alkaloid, compound, mixture, salt or derivative of cannabis qualifies as marijuana concentrate in this state.

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However, charges for possession of concentrates will only be brought against an offender if it contains THC and is not the actual cannabis plant. No matter how little or how much THC it contains, it is still an illegal substance in Hawaii.


It is a felony to possess, manufacture or sell drug paraphernalia in the State of Hawaii. This crime is punishable by a $10,000 fine and/or up to 5 years’ incarceration. Delivering paraphernalia by an adult to someone 3 or more years younger is also a felony. It’s punishable by a fine of $25,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.

Medical Marijuana

The Hawaii Medical Marijuana Registry Program allows qualifying patients to possess no more than 4 ounces of usable cannabis at one time. If a patient has a primary caregiver, they can only possess 4 ounces combined. Under the program, usable marijuana doesn’t refer to roots, stalks or seeds of the cannabis plant.

Selling Marijuana in Hawaii

All marijuana purchases in Hawaii must be made at a state-licensed dispensary. However, the state has yet to open one up for operations. All other cannabis sales, deliveries, and distributions are crimes and punishable as follows:

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• Under 1 ounce = Misdemeanor: Fine of $2,000 and/or up to 1 year jail time

• Between 1 ounce and 1 pound = Felony: Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years’ incarceration

• Between 1 to 5 pounds = Felony: Fine of $25,000 and 10 years’ prison time

• Over 5 pounds = Felony: Fine of $50,000 and 20 years in prison

• Within 750 feet of park or school grounds (any amount) = Felony: Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years’ imprisonment

• Within 10 feet of school vehicle that’s parked (any amount) = Felony: Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years’ prison time

Growing and Manufacturing Marijuana in Hawaii

Only medical marijuana patients and their registered caregivers may grow cannabis in the State of Hawaii. The cultivator must be registered with the Department of Health and possess a 329 Card.

To cultivate legally, the “grow site” must be listed with the Health Department and appear on the 329 Card as well. These growers are allowed to grow up to 7 cannabis plants at one time, either mature or immature.

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All other types of grows within the state are felony charges punishable as follows:

• Between 25 to 50 plants = Fine of $10,000 and/or up to 5 years’ imprisonment

• Between 50 to 100 plants = Fine of $25,000 and/or 10 years’ incarceration

• Over 100 plants = $50,000 fine and/or 20 years in prison

• Under 25 plants on property of another without permission = Fine of $25,000 and/or 10 years’ prison time

• Over 25 plants on property of another without permission = Fine of $50,000 and/or 20 years in prison

• Within a structure where minor under 16 is knowingly present = Additional 2 years added to cultivation prison sentence

• Conditions above where the minor suffers bodily injury = Additional 5 years added to prison sentence for cultivation


Using Marijuana in Hawaii

Under the Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program, qualifying patients with debilitating conditions may use cannabis. They must be registered in the program through the State of Hawaii Department of Health. All registrations must be done online at https://medmj.ehawaii.gov.

The fee for enrollment is $38.50, which must also be paid online during registration. A qualifying patient’s physician will need to certify the chronic medical condition and submit this information to the DOH online. Once approved, the patient will be issued a valid 329 Card. This card must be on them anytime they are in possessing of medical cannabis.

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Hawaii considers the following debilitating illnesses as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical marijuana program:


• Crohn’s disease


• Persistent muscle spasms

• Seizures

• Chronic pain

• Glaucoma


• Post-traumatic stress

Register here: https://medmj.ehawaii.gov

Breaking the Marijuana Laws in Hawaii

If an offender is found guilty or pleads guilty to a first offense of possession of distribution of cannabis, this person is eligible for a suspended judgment. In this case, probation will be granted. After completion, the charges will be dismissed, and the offender will be discharged by the court. This is only allowed for first-time offenders.

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Any commercial driver found guilty of unlawful possession, use or transportation of marijuana while on duty will lose driving privileges. The state will likely revoke the person’s commercial driver’s license.

Marijuana legislation can be complicated, but Jenny Bloom is always up for the task. Although not a lawyer, her experience as a reporter and PR specialist helps her understand legalese – especially when it relates to growing marijuana. A passionate supporter of legalization and home... [read more]


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