The 2015 Legislative Session

The 2015 legislative session began on January 21st 2015. This is likely to be a very big year for medical marijuana. We have collected a list of the bills, with short summaries and the latest updates. There are many bills, and we have underlined the bills we support most strongly. Also note that at the bottom there is a list of bills we oppose that would limit the rights of patients. Feel free to click on the bill number to be taken to the legislature’s website to read the text and see up to the minute information about the bill. If you want to receive our periodic action alerts and updates, please sign up for our mailing list.

Dispensary Bills

  • HB321 / SB1029Dispensary bill from the task force recommendations.
    This is the bill that came out of the recommendations from the task force created by a resolution last session. This is the vehicle that will have the best chance of getting passed. Click here for our take on the bill, what needs to be changed, and what works well.

    • Introduced in the House by: SOUKI, BELATTI, BROWER, CREAGAN, EVANS, HASHEM, ING, KOBAYASHI, C. LEE, LUKE, MCKELVEY, MIZUNO, MORIKAWA, NAKASHIMA, NISHIMOTO, RHOADS, SAIKI, SAN BUENAVENTURA, TAKAYAMA, TAKUMI, THIELEN
    • Referred to: HLT, JUD, FIN
      1/26/15 HB321: Referred to HLT, JUD, FIN, referral sheet 1
    • Introduced in the Senate by: BAKER, ESPERO, IHARA, KEITH-AGARAN, NISHIHARA, Ruderman
      1/28/15 SB1029: Introduced.
  • SB595Dispensary bill. This is a narrower dispensary bill from the one proposed by the dispensary task force. It has some good features, such as a reciprocity provision, but allows initially only 1 dispensary per county, and requires that patients register with the dispensary as a primary caregiver. This is not as strong an approach to creating dispensaries as HB321.
    • Introduced by RUDERMAN, ENGLISH, ESPERO, GABBARD, Riviere, Shimabukuro.
    • Referred to: HTH/CPN, WAM
      1/26/15 SB595: Referred to HTH/CPN, WAM.
  • SB888County Compassion centers. This is another approach to creating dispensaries by granting the counties the ability to license “compassion centers” to dispense medical cannabis. This bill provides for less regulation and less support than HB 321, and with higher taxes. Leaving the regulation to county governments may create a situation where some patients are left behind.
    • Introduced by: ENGLISH, GALUTERIA, RUDERMAN.
      1/26/15 SB888: Passed First Reading.
  • HB788Authorizing growers and prohibiting infused products. A rather strange bill that authorizes the growing of medical marijuana by any adult above age 21, but does not authorize the creation of dispensaries or legalize the sale or transfer of medical marijuana from these growers to patients. It also carries a prohibition against “infusing trademarked products” with medical cannabis.
    • Introduced by OSHIRO, HAR
      1/26/15 HB788: Pending introduction.

Civil Protections Bills

  • HB 31Improved protection from housing discrimination for Medical Cannabis patients. This bill expands upon a bill passed last year, by voiding provisions in documents that would allow for discriminatory practices listed in paragraphs 1-7 of this chapter against medical cannabis patients.
    • Introduced by Rep. RHOADS
    • Referred to: HLT, CPC, JUD
      1/26/15 HB31: Referred to HLT, CPC, JUD, referral sheet 1
  • SB682Improved civil protections for medical cannabis patients. This bill grants many protections that medical cannabis patients in other states have already, such as the right to enrollment to schools, protection against discrimination in hiring and in housing, protection against being denied custody of children, and protection against being denied other medical care, such as organ transplants, on the grounds of being a medical cannabis patient. While this is a broad bill, it is worth noting that much of the language is already in effect in Arizona.
    • Introduced by ESPERO, GALUTERIA
    • Referred to HTH/PSM.
      1/23/15 SB190: Referred to HTH/PSM.
  • HB795 - Employee protections. This bill states that employers may not discipline, suspend, discharge, or discriminate against any of their employees solely because the employee tested positive for marijuana, as long as the employee wasn’t impaired at work.
    • Introduced by CREAGAN, NAKASHIMA
      1/26/15 HB795: Pending introduction.

Other changes to the Medical Marijuana Program

  • SB190Transfers of seeds and seedlings and an increase in the patient-caregiver ratio. This bill specifies that patients and caregivers may transfer cannabis seeds to one another and increases the number of patients that each caregiver may grow for from 1 to 3.
    • Introduced in Senate by ESPERO, GALUTERIA, RUDERMAN, Baker, Ihara
    • Referred to: HTH/PSM
      1/23/15 SB190: Referred to HTH/PSM.

  • SB189State level rescheduling of marijuana. This bill removes marijuana from the state schedule of controlled substances and requires the Department of Public Safety to consult with the Dept. of Health in the process of finding a new, more appropriate place for it in the schedule of controlled substances. This does not effect a change in the federal scheduling of marijuana.
    • Introduced in Senate by ESPERO, Baker, Galuteria, Ihara, Ruderman
    • Referred to HTH/PSM, JDL
      1/26/15 SB189: Referred to HTH/PSM, JDL.

  • HB794Authorizing doctors to recommend for any condition. This bill would add a provision stating that a doctor can recommend medical cannabis for any condition that the physician believes will be helped by cannabis. Patients would no longer be limited to the list of qualifying conditions in statute.
    • Introduced by CREAGAN
      1/26/15 HB794: Pending introduction.
  • SB1019Hospitals allow cannabis patients to medicate. This bill requires that hospitals designate a specific room on where a qualifying patient may use marijuana. This would be hugely useful for many patients, but the language of the bill (the word “prescribed” is used) may need to be changed for the bill to have the effect that it intends.
    • Introduced by ESPERO, Galuteria
      1/28/15 SB1019: Introduced.

Threats to the Medical Marijuana Program

  • SB228 / HB157Excluding hashish and concentrates from the definition of marijuana. This bill, either accidentally or on purpose, removes “marijuana concentrates” from the definition of marijuana in the medical marijuana law, and thus may remove the legal protection for medical cannabis patients found to have extracts, oils, and concentrates. A similar bill was introduced and defeated in the 2014 legislative session.
    • Introduced in Senate by KEITH-AGARAN and SHIMABUKURO.
    • Referred to: HTH/PSM, JUD
      1/26/15 SB228: Referred to HTH/PSM, JDL.
    • Introduced in House by SOUKI
    • Referred to: HLT, JUD (By request of a third party)
      1/26/15 HB157: Referred to HLT, JUD, referral sheet 1

For clarity, we have not included bills that affect marijuana issues but not the medical cannabis program. If you are interested in issues relating to recreational marijuana, please visit Fresh Approach Hawaii.

To ensure that the above information is readable, as bills miss deadlines (and many of them will) we will remove them from the above list and they can be viewed here. While those bills are considered “dead” for the 2015 legislative session, they may still be alive in the 2016 session.