On July 11, 2016, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed House Bill 2707, clarifying and amending statutes for the state’s medical marijuana dispensary system, including a provision that enables Advanced Practice Registered Nurses with prescriptive authority to certify patients for medical marijuana.
“It’s high time that this bill came into effect,” said Wailua Brandman, a psychiatric nurse practitioner, to the Associated Press. “I have patients that have been using marijuana, not legally, because they don’t have the diagnosis yet … but the medication is working for them, and they keep asking me, can they get a card?”
The Hawaii State Department of Health announced eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees on April 29, indicating that dispensaries could open on or after July 15.
While potential medical marijuana patients can now be certified by licensed physicians or ARPNs, dispensary owners may not be ready to open on July 15.
“We have to build the facility and grow the plants and then develop everything before you can sell,” said Richard Ha, CEO of Lau Ola, a medical marijuana dispensary planned for Hawaii’s Big Island. Ha estimates that his dispensary will open next year.