Medical cannabis patient numbers on the rise in Hawaii

Hawaii saw a 16.6% increase in registered medical marijuana patients in 2016, a great sign for the state’s eight licensed dispensaries preparing to open soon.

There were 15,334 medical marijuana patients registered in Hawaii in December, an increase of 2,184 patients from 13,150 a year earlier, West Hawaii Today reported. That amounts to a gain of 16.6%.

In another positive sign for MMJ business owners, the number of caregivers in Hawaii decreased by 55.5%, from 2,849 at the end of 2015 to 1,268 last month, according to figures recently released by Hawaii’s Department of Health.

Caregivers now grow MMJ for the state’s patients. But state law is set to eliminate the caregiver program by 2018, which would be a boon for dispensary operators seeking patients. Dispensary operators also grow their own medical cannabis.

Meanwhile, 102 physicians and seven Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioners are certified to recommend medical marijuana.

Health department figures found that 67% of patients use medical marijuana for pain and 13% use it for muscle spasms, according to West Hawaii Today.

Eight dispensaries are licensed to sell medical cannabis in Hawaii but they are still making plans to open. Each licensee is permitted to operate two dispensaries, meaning Hawaii could have up to 16 MMJ outlets. Each licensee also may open two cultivation centers.

The dispensaries were permitted to go online last July 15 but weren’t ready. Last month, however, Hawaii’s health department faced pointed criticism from state lawmakers for dragging its feet on approving medical marijuana cultivation by the state’s vertically integrated MMJ companies.

Also, the state’s seed-to-sale tracking program – operated by BioTrackTHC – wasn’t yet ready at the end of the year.



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2 comments on “Medical cannabis patient numbers on the rise in Hawaii
  1. Mary Whispering Wind on

    Registered Cannabis patients on the Big Island have ZERO legal access to medical cannabis, seventeen years after Hawaii enacted medical cannabis laws. Hawaii Health Department, which administers the program, tells registered cannabis patients, all forms of the sale or purchase of cannabis on the Big Island is illegal, and the law is “silent” on how patients “acquire” their medical cannabis.

  2. Mary Whispering Wind on

    Cannabis is the largest agricultural industry in the state, but it has no regulations, fees, or taxes. Cannabis flows like water through every layer of society, so nobody of consequence cares if it’s legal or not. The only ones in Hawaii who can’t get cannabis are the poor, and disabled, and seriously ill patients that the original vanguard 2000 legislature was hoping to help. Now, it’s all about profits, and making laws that allow tourists to get fast and easy access to cannabis while on vacation. The loss of caregivers it tragic, and it is not due to dispensaries being open. Caregiver numbers are down as a reaction to the draconian policing laws, and the swat-team raids of the marijuana eradication programs. Cannabis collectives are flourishing all across the islands, in spite of their racially and economically discriminatory marijuana prohibition enforcement efforts.

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