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The status of CBD in Hawaii is complex. The state has legalized medical marijuana, making the plant available to individuals with a wide range of medical conditions. However, at the current time, the sale of hemp-based CBD remains restricted. Despite this, CBD products remain easily accessible at stores throughout the state.
Many people are interested in the use of CBD for potential help with anxiety, depression, chronic pain and insomnia. But, most people want to make sure that the option that they are choosing is legal and accessible where they live. This is what we’ve been able to learn about Hawaii’s current hemp and cannabis-based CBD laws.
Is CBD oil legal in Hawaii?
At the current time, the status of CBD oil in Hawaii is complex. Cannabis-based CBD oil is available to medical marijuana patients in the state of Hawaii. It can be purchased at licensed dispensaries throughout the state.
While hemp-based CBD is widely available in Hawaii, at the current time, it remains illegal throughout the state.
What are the current CBD laws in Hawaii?
At the current time, CBD laws in Hawaii are in flux. Cultivating hemp is legal in the state. However, processing it for CBD and selling CBD products is against the law. Medical marijuana, including marijuana-based CBD, is available to patients with a wide range of covered conditions. Recreational marijuana remains illegal, but is largely decriminalized.
Hawaii became one of the first states with legal medical marijuana back in 2000 when Governor Ben Cayetano signed Act 228 into law. This law allowed medical marijuana cardholders to either grow their own marijuana or to appoint a caretaker to grow the plant on their behalf. However, at the time the law was passed, it did not provide for legal dispensaries in the state for those who couldn’t or did not wish to grow their own plants.
Dispensaries came to the state after the establishment of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii in 2015. Under this program, a licensed physician could certify that a patient’s health condition could benefit from medical marijuana products such as CBD oil. Act 241 was passed in July, 2015 to administer the dispensary program and the manufacture of marijuana products in the state. A dispensary system that allowed eight dispensaries to be establised was set up through Senate Bill 321 in 2016. The state’s first dispensary opened on Maui in August, 2017.
Hawaii made its first move toward legalizing hemp in July 2016. That year, Act 228 was signed into law, creating a pilot program through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to oversee the cultivation of hemp for academic and agricultural research. The next year, Hawaii’s House of Representatives Agricultural Committee removed criminal and civil sanctions for planting, growing, harvesting, possession, selling and buying industrial hemp.
In 2018, the federal goverment legalized the growth and processing of hemp as part of the Farm Bill, reclassifying the plant from a Schedule 1 drug to an agricultural commodity. However, they left the administration of hemp laws to the states. In Hawaii, attempts at creating a cohesive statewide system for regulations saw many roadblocks.
A hemp regulation bill, S.B. 1353 was written in 2019. However, Governor David Ige vetoed it. He cited concerns regarding the regulation of THC in the hemp market, fearing a law enforcement clash between high-THC cannabis and industrial hemp, fearing that cannabis growers may hide their product in hemp fields. Part of the concern is related to the length of Hawaii’s days and the intensity of UVB radiation from the equaltorial sunlight. Ray Maki, president of the Hawaii Hemp Farmers Association, says that the intense sunlight might spur hemp plants to produce additional THC, bringing the total concentration above the .3% permitted under federal law. Other experts cite a lack of local testing and regulation. Without these safeguards, they worry that CBD products might be sold that do not meet health standards. Potential issues include the potential presence of pesticides, metal particles and synthetic CBD. Without independent lab testing, it is also possible for products labeled as containing CBD to lack the cannabinoid completely.
On August 27, 2020, Hawaii’s legislature signed Act 014 into law. Under this law, individuals and entities would be allowed to acquire licenses to grow hemp in the state. Hawaii’s hemp laws prevent people with felonies related to controlled substances from growing hemp. Hemp can only be grown in state agriculture districts and is prohibited from being grown in any residential dwelling. It cannot be grown within 500 feet of any existing dwelling, school, playground or childcare facility. Hawaii has not implemented its own state hemp production program. As a result, all licensing is done at the federal level through the USDA. USDA licenses for growing hemp are good for three years.
Meanwhile, a bill to decriminalize cannabis was passed in the state legislature and allowed to pass into law without the governor’s signature. As of January 11, 2020, the possession of less than three grams of marijuana is punishable by only a $130 fine.
In Hawaii, the production of hemp-based CBD products is overseen by the Food and Drug Brance of the state’s Department of Health. The department’s website warns that the FDA has not approved the use of CBD in over-the-counter products at this time, nor does the organization consider CBD safe. In accordance with FDA findings, the state of Hawaii does not permit CBD to be sold as a dietary supplement. It is illegal to add CBD to food, beverages or cosmetics in Hawaii. CBD products cannot be sold with health claims in Hawaii.
The sale of hemp-based CBD products can be punished with up to a $10,000 fine in Hawaii. As of this time, no retailers have been fined under the law. The state has opted instead to educate sellers on the law. At least 100 establishments that sell CBD products have been visited by Hawaiian health officials. The officials discuss facts about cannabis-based products and the current federal laws governing the processing and sale of CBD. Officials say that the decision to withold fines could change in the future.
Lawmakers in Hawaii say that the legality of CBD in the state will evolve along with federal laws. As the risks and benefits of CBD become better understood, there is a good chance that CBD products will become more widely available legally within the state of Hawaii.
Can I purchase CBD in Hawaii?
Under the law, no, most people cannot buy CBD in Hawaii. Current state laws restrict the sale of CBD products to marijuana-based CBD prescribed by a physician to an individual with a medical marijuana card.
However, hemp-based CBD products remain widely available at many retail outlets. This includes specialized CBD stores, natural food stores, convenience stores and other locations.
Many CBD oil sellers online will also ship products to Hawaii, despite restrictions against the sale of hemp-based CBD in the state.