A shortage of doctors in Hawaii interested in providing medical marijuana recommendations has prompted the signage of a bill allowing nurses to provide recommendations.
Medical marijuana was approved in 2000 in Hawaii, but dispensaries were not. Patients were permitted to grow their own medicine until dispensaries were made available. It was not until 2015 that dispensary approval came about, and it is likely going to be late 2016 when Hawaii’s dispensaries open.
One Hawaii nurse practitioner, Wailua Brandman said, “It’s high time that this bill came into effect. 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?,” SF Gate reports.
Drug Policy Reform executive director, Carl Berquist said, “I think it’s connected to issues around the legality that people are still confused about, and also a lack of education about the benefits of the medicine. People remain skeptical.”
Dispensary owner Richard Ha said, “We [still] have to build the facility and grow the plants and then develop everything before we can sell.”