No. Marijuana is legal for medical use in Hawaii. However, Section 329D.6 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries from delivering cannabis products to registered patients or caregivers. Also, the United States Controlled Substances Act classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance with a high potential for abuse. Therefore, cannabis is unacceptable at the federal level and cannot be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or delivered through third-party carriers. Medical marijuana dispensaries are only allowed to convey cannabis products between licensed medical marijuana facilities in the state.
Although cannabis is legal for medical purposes in Hawaii, federal laws prohibit its use. Persons who mail edibles or other cannabis products across state lines in Hawaii risk facing severe charges. Mailing edibles across state lines can attract federal penalties as stipulated in Title 21, Section 844a of the United States Code. The degree of punishment a defendant faces depends on their history of marijuana possession convictions. A first offense can attract a minimum fine of $1,000 and a one-year jail term. For a second conviction, the punishment increases to a two-year maximum jail term (with 15 days of the sentence being mandatory) and up to $2,500 in fines. Subsequent convictions for mailing edibles across state lines carry three years maximum imprisonment, with 90 days of the sentences being mandatory, and up to $5,000 in fines.
Edibles are marijuana-infused products meant for oral consumption. The provisions of House Bill 2097 allowed medical marijuana dispensaries in the state to provide edible products to registered patients. As stipulated in Section 329D.10 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, edibles, such as lozenges, pills, and liquids, are allowable in Hawaii. Section 329D.6 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes prohibits off-premises delivery of cannabis products to patients and caregivers in the state. Therefore, medical marijuana dispensaries cannot transport edibles to registered users. Also, Hawaii residents cannot mail edibles within the state or across state lines.
Being charged with cannabis trafficking in Hawaii is a serious offense. A first offender could face several years of jail term and substantial fines if convicted. Although trafficking of other drugs in Hawaii carries severe penalties, the punishments may be less severe. Offenders may face shorter jail terms and lesser fines for trafficking other drugs. If charged with marijuana trafficking in Hawaii, a defendant should remain silent until their attorney is present. This will prevent them from making incriminating statements that can be used against them in court.
Getting a marijuana trafficking charge in Hawaii dismissed requires a thorough understanding of drug trafficking laws and a defendant's rights under federal and state constitutions. For instance, the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers. So, if a defendant is able to prove that the cannabis product seized from them was obtained illegally, a judge might dismiss their charges. Also, a defendant may get marijuana trafficking charges against them dismissed by proving that they did not intend to distribute the marijuana product found on them.
Another way to dismiss a marijuana trafficking charge in Hawaii is by offering law enforcement valuable information about another individual against whom the police are trying to build a case. A defendant's attorney must negotiate a lesser sentence for their client before the client divulges such information. A defendant's attorney can also argue that their client did not know that they had cannabis products in their possession or that the products did not belong to their client. If there is sufficient evidence to prove any of these claims, the marijuana trafficking charge may be dismissed.
Hawaii is considered a high-intensity drug trafficking area (HIDTA) by the United States Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Drug trafficking is monitored at the federal level by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to a drug trafficking market analysis report published by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), illegal cannabis cultivation in Hawaii is extensively carried out outdoors and indoors. However, there is a shift in cannabis cultivation activities to indoor operations as traffickers attempt to evade law enforcement detection. Marijuana is one of the most commonly abused substances in Hawaii, accounting for the majority of drug treatment admissions in the state.
The drug trafficking market analysis report also revealed that the abuse and trafficking of cannabis contribute to the majority of violent and property crimes in Hawaii. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrest reports show that Hawaii recorded 854 arrests for cannabis-related crimes in 2019 and 235 arrests in 2020. Most of the marijuana products consumed in Hawaii are produced within the state. Still, some high-potency cannabis products are illegally imported from other states, such as Oregon, Washington, and California. Hawaii monitors drug trafficking crimes through the Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED) under the Hawaii Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Hawaii Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Per Section 712.1250 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, marijuana trafficking is the unlawful sale, distribution, delivery, or possession of cannabis products. The provisions of Chapter 712, Part IV of the Hawaii Revised Statutes outline the state's punishments for trafficking different amounts of marijuana products. Offenders charged with marijuana trafficking in Hawaii typically risk felony punishments. Per Section 701.107 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, felonies are crimes for which convicted persons may face imprisonment for over one year. Misdemeanors are offenses that carry maximum prison sentences of one year, whereas the penalties for petty misdemeanors are thirty-day maximum jail terms.
The Hawaii Revised Statutes do not specify the amount of marijuana that is considered trafficking in the state. Since the decriminalization of cannabis through House Bill 1383, Hawaii residents carrying 3 grams or less of marijuana products only face $130 fines. Drug trafficking is called ''promoting of intoxicating substances'' under Hawaii law. As stipulated in Section 712.1250 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the state categorizes intoxicating substances into three groups - harmful drugs, dangerous drugs, and detrimental drugs. Marijuana concentrates are classified as harmful drugs. Other formulations of cannabis are considered detrimental drugs because users do not experience pronounced withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing their use.
As provided in Section 712.1250 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, the state's punishments for drug trafficking offenses are based on offenders' hierarchies in drug trafficking operations. Hawaii law considers an offender who possesses large amounts of illegal drugs to be the main supplier, wholesaler, or importer. Offenders with medium amounts of illicit drugs are considered to be retailers who serve as intermediaries between wholesalers and consumers. Persons caught with small amounts of illegal substances are regarded as consumers of trafficked drugs under Hawaii law. The penalty for trafficking a wholesale quantity of a dangerous drug, such as marijuana concentrate, is a class-A felony punishment. Defendants who traffic retail amounts of marijuana concentrates risk facing class-B felony punishments, which are less severe. Per Section 712.1250 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, if offenders distribute marijuana products to minors (persons under 18 years) who are three years younger than themselves, they could face severe felony punishments.
Drug trafficking crimes in Hawaii, including possession, distribution, and sale, are called ''promoting'' under state laws. As stipulated in Section 712.1249.4 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, an offender is guilty of commercial promotion of marijuana in the first degree if they carry 25 pounds or more of cannabis products. Also, an offender who distributes 5 pounds or more of cannabis products is guilty of a class-A felony punishable by 20 years imprisonment, a $50,000 fine, or both. Per the provisions of Section 712.1249.5 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, offenders who possess two pounds or more but less than 25 pounds of cannabis products commit commercial promotion of marijuana in the second degree. A defendant is also guilty of commercial promotion of marijuana in the second degree if they distribute 1 pound or more but less than 5 pounds of cannabis. If convicted, they could face class-B felony punishments of ten years jail term, up to $25,000 in fines, or both.
According to Section 712.1247 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, an offender who possesses one pound or more but less than two pounds of marijuana is guilty of promoting a detrimental drug in the first degree. Such an offense is a class-C felony punishable by up to five years incarceration, a $10,000 fine, or both. Also, Section 712.1249.7 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes states that if a defendant trafficks marijuana products through a minor, they commit a class-B felony punishable by ten years imprisonment, $25,000 in fines, or both. Per Section 712.1250 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, defendants commit class-C felonies if they distribute marijuana products to minors (persons under 18 years) who are three years younger than themselves. They could face $10,000 fines, five years imprisonment, or both.
To legally transport cannabis products in Hawaii, a person or entity must obtain a medical cannabis dispensary license from the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). According to Section 329D.1 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, medical marijuana dispensaries can operate up to two production centers for cultivating and manufacturing cannabis products for sale to registered medical marijuana patients. Section 329D.6 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes allows medical marijuana dispensary licensees to transport cannabis supplies between their dispensaries and production facilities. Furthermore, Section 329D.11 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires all manufactured cannabis products to be packaged at the original point of manufacture. Marijuana products sold in Hawaii must:
To obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license in Hawaii, an applicant must be 21 years or older. According to Section 329D.4 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, medical cannabis dispensary license applicants must pay non-refundable license application fees of $5,000 to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH). They must also obtain application forms from the DOH and submit the completed application forms and other required documents to the Department. Some of the required documents for medical marijuana dispensary license applications in Hawaii are certified copies of a proposed establishment's organizing documents, bylaws, and bank statements for the twelve months preceding the application. Successful applicants must pay $75,000 dispensary license fees to the DOH within seven days of obtaining approval. The Hawaii Department of Health issues medical cannabis dispensary licenses to applicants after they pay their license fees. The provisions of Section 329D.4(b) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes requires the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to establish open periods during which cannabis dispensary license applications may be submitted. Currently, the DOH is not accepting new medical marijuana dispensary license applications. Prospective licensees can obtain further information about cannabis dispensary license applications from the DOH website.