Updated: House bills 667 & 668 on medical marijuana pass first hearings, next hearings 2/13/13

UPDATE 2/8/13:

HB 668 (to move oversight of the program from the Narcotics Enforcement Division to the Department of Health) has passed out of the House Health Committee.  It now moves to a hearing before the House Committee on Finance.

HB 667 (to improve Hawaii’s medical marijuana law) was heard in a joint hearing of the House Committee on Health and House Committee on Public Safety and was scheduled for decision-making on Wednesday, February 13 at 8:30 am.  If passed, HB 667 will move to a hearing before the House Committee on Judiciary.

Both bills have been amended. For more information, visit:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=667&year=2013 and

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=668

Please check back from more hearing notices and calls for testimony. These bills are also being tracked in depth at our sister organization, the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii.

THANKS TO ALL WHO TESTIFIED!

The ACLU of Hawaii, together with the Drug Policy Action Group and our two legislative coalitions, Fresh Approach Hawaii and the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii, are joining forces to promote sensible reforms to Hawaiiʻs marijuana laws, including our 13 year-old medical marijuana program. We hope you will take the time to testify on two important house bills being heard on Friday.

Testimony must be received by Th. 2/7/13 at 8:30 a.m.!

The House Health and Public Safety committee (in a joint hearing) will be hearing HB 668, a bill that would transfer all jurisdictions over Hawaii’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Safety to the Department of Health.  The hearing is taking place this Friday, February 8, 2013, at 8:30 am. in room 329.  Besides the limited space in the Capitol basement, you can park at Alii Place, entrance off Alakea Street just before Hotel Street.

HB 668 – Transfers jurisdiction over Hawaii’s medical cannabis program from the Department of Public Safety (it is currently housed in the Narcotics Enforcement Division – NED) to the Department of Health (DOH). HB 668 text: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=668&year=2013

Submit testimony:
1) By Email: E-mail if less than 5 pages in length, to BOTH Committees at HLTtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov AND PBStestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov. Please indicate the measure, date and time of the hearing. Email sent to individual offices or any other office will not be accepted.
2) By Web: Online if less than 4MB in size, at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony

USE THE FOLLOWING TEMPLATE:
To: Representative Della Au Belatti, Health Committee Chair
Representative Henry Aquino, Public Safety Committee Chair
Representative Dee Morikawa, Health Committee Vice-Chair
Representative Kaniela Ing, Public Safety Committee Vice-Chalr

From: (Your Name)
RE:
HB 668 – Relating to Health
Hearing:
Friday, February 8, 2013, room 329, 8:30 am
Position:
Strong Support

Write your own reasons for moving the medical cannabis program from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Health. It is always a good idea to use your personal experiences and stories.  HB 668 key points:

  • Over the past 13 years, the Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED) has not shown that it is qualified to manage a public health program.
  • Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis program is a health program, not a narcotics enforcement program.

_____________________________________________________________________________

HB 667 – Improves aspects of the Medical Use of Marijuana program. The changes in this bill were suggested by the Medical Cannabis Working Group in 2010, most of them coming from patients themselves (see below for summary of improvements)

HB 667 Text: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=HB&billnumber=667&year=2013

Submit testimony:
1) By Email: E-mail if less than 5 pages in length, to the Committee at HLTtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov. Please indicate the measure, date and time of the hearing. Email sent to individual offices or any other office will not be accepted.
2) By Web: Online if less than 4MB in size, at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/emailtestimony

USE THE FOLLOWING TEMPLATE:
To: Representative Della Au Belatti, Chair
Representative Dee Morikawa, Vice-Chair
From: (Your Name)
RE: HB 667 – Relating to Medical Marijuana
Hearing: Friday, February 8, 2013, 8:30 am, Room 329
Position: Strong Support

Write your own reasons for wanting to improve the medical cannabis program. It is always a good idea to use your personal experiences and stories, especially if you have had challenges with the law.  Try to address the details in the bill you are testifying on since there may be some parts you like more than others. HB 677 key points:

  • The program was put in place 13 years ago to provide compassionate care to Hawaii’s sick and debilitated, not to cause them more grief and stress.
  • Hawai‘i should do a better job of protecting patients’ privacy.
  • Hawai‘i needs to encourage caregivers to help care for the sick who use medical cannabis, not discourage them.
  • Hawai‘i should permit medical cannabis patients from other medical cannabis jurisdictions to be afforded the same rights as state residents while they are visiting.