Hawaii Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits

by Kat Austin December 06, 2023 6 min read

Hawaii Cannabis Laws + Possession Limits - Vida Optima™

In recent times, Hawaii has undergone significant changes in its cannabis regulations, transitioning from strict prohibition to allowing the use of medical marijuana. Understanding the nuances of these laws might present a challenge, but fear not, as we're here to shed light on the matter.

Join us as we delve into the details of Hawaii's cannabis laws, covering regulations on possession, cultivation, repercussions, and the complexities related to acquiring and dispensing medical marijuana within the state. Let's embark on this exploration together!

Table of Contents
Is Cannabis Legal in Hawaii?
Hawaii Cannabis Laws
How the Legal Sale of Cannabis Happens
Penalties for Marijuana-Related Crimes
Legal Cannabis to Buy Online

Key Takeaways

  • Cannabis is legal for medical use for qualifying patients with a Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card.
  • A medical patient can possess up to 4 ounces of cannabis at a time.
  • There are penalties for possessing more than the allowable amount of cannabis, for unlicensed sales, and for consuming in public spaces. 
  • Recreational use of marijuana is still prohibited, but hemp-derived THC products may be a good option. 
Cannabis plants and an amber bottle of cannabis oil to show an example of a medical marijuana product available in Hawaii

Is Cannabis Legal in Hawaii?

Recreational marijuana remains illegal in Hawaii, but the state has legalized its medical use. In 2019, HB1383 eased penalties for possessing 3 grams or less of marijuana, imposing a $130 fine for such possession.

Under Act 288 SLH 2000, medical marijuana is accessible to qualified patients holding a state-issued Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card. Those possessing this card—either patients or caregivers—can lawfully purchase, grow, transport, and use marijuana for medicinal purposes. Hawaii extends its medical program to out-of-state patients through a reciprocity system. Visitors meeting the criteria—holding a valid medical marijuana card from their home state—can apply for a Hawaii 329 Card after consulting a Hawaii-licensed physician or APRN.

Regulations for Medical Use in Hawaii

There are regulations in place to govern how a medical marijuana patient in Hawaii can possess and use cannabis. For instance, a Hawaii Medical Card Holder can:

  • Possess up to 4 ounces of marijuana at a time
  • Cultivate up to seven marijuana plants concurrently
  • Designate a caregiver to procure and administer marijuana on their behalf
  • Travel with limited amounts of cannabis for personal use if stored in a sealed container and out of reach while in the vehicle. It may be placed in the trunk. 
  • Consumer marijuana in private locations, such as their home, and away from public spaces and people under the age of 18. 

Hawaii also recognizes medical cannabis cards from other states. Medical card holders from other states can apply for a temporary Hawaii medical card in order to buy cannabis in Hawaii dispensaries. 

Qualifying Conditions and Regulations for Medical Cannabis in Hawaii

For adults, the qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use (with a doctor’s recommendation) include:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Lupus (added effective June 29, 2017 as per Act 041, SHL 2017)
  • Epilepsy (added effective June 29, 2017 as per Act 041, SHL 2017)
  • Multiple Sclerosis (added effective June 29, 2017 as per Act 041, SHL 2017)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (added effective June 29, 2017 as per Act 041, SHL 2017)
  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (added effective July 1, 2015 as per Act 241, SLH 2015), 
  • A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Severe pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease.

Restrictions for Cannabis Use in Hawaii

While medical marijuana is permissible, there are stringent regulations governing its possession and consumption. Per these laws, qualified patients are prohibited from:

  • Using medical marijuana in public spaces
  • Carrying or consuming medical marijuana on federal property, given its classification as a Schedule I Controlled Substance
  • Transporting medical marijuana that isn't in a sealed container
  • Possessing more than 4 ounces of cannabis at a time
  • Transporting cannabis accross islands or to mainland USA, especially on airplanes, where federally-associated transport is imminent. 

Hawaii Cannabis Laws

In Hawaii, multiple bills and changes have emerged in the medical marijuana landscape:

  • Act 169: Forms a task force to examine a potential dual system for cannabis legalization.
  • HCR 132: Urges the Department of Health to request an exception from federal regulations on marijuana.
  • HB 477: Expands access to medical cannabis by authorizing larger purchases from dispensaries and increasing allowable locations.
  • SB 1333: Aims to align state drug laws with federal changes and remove certain medications from the controlled substances list.
  • SCR 250: Calls for immediate relief from federal regulations on cannabis use.
  • HR 112: Requests clarification from federal authorities regarding state-authorized medical cannabis use.
  • SCR 221: Proposes a study on medical marijuana access and pricing compared to illegal sales.
  • SB 2455 and HB 1907: Aim to legalize recreational marijuana, exempt taxes on medical products, and extend privileges to out-of-state patients.
  • HB 421: Proposes a ballot question on legalizing recreational marijuana.
  • HB 1202 and SB 1367: Address responsible adult cannabis use, including possession, cultivation, and social equity initiatives.
  • HB 238: Proposes legalization of possession, dispensing, and taxation of recreational cannabis by dispensaries.
  • SB 704, SB 767, andHB 7: Aim for further decriminalization, regulation, taxation, and licensing of small amounts of cannabis.
  • Chapter 11-850: Contains interim rules governing medical cannabis dispensaries' operations and licensing.
  • HB 2264: Allows county-level legalization of adult-use marijuana.
  • HB 2260:Updates the medical cannabis program, allowing transportation between islands and increased purchasing limits.
  • SB 669: Seeks to legalize recreational marijuana possession, cultivation, and sales, establishing the Hawaii Cannabis Authority.

These bills and chapters represent ongoing efforts and debates within Hawaii regarding medical and recreational marijuana regulations.

How Cannabis is Bought and Sold in Hawaii

In Hawaii, licensed dispensaries exclusively sell marijuana under the oversight of the Department of Health. The state's medical marijuana laws allow both in-state and out-of-state patients and caregivers to purchase medical marijuana with a valid Hawaii 329 card. 

Out-of-state patients with a valid medical marijuana card from their home state and government-issued ID can apply for a temporary Hawaii 329 card, valid for up to 60 days. Visitors who frequent Hawaii more than twice a year can opt for an in-state 329 card for ongoing access to medical marijuana during each visit.

Sales are restricted to qualifying patients and caregivers aged 18 and above. Dispensaries offer various marijuana products, including flowers, vapes, concentrates, tinctures, and paraphernalia. Each licensed dispensary is limited to selling a total of 4 ounces per 15 consecutive days or 8 ounces per 30 consecutive days to qualifying patients and caregivers.

Penalties for Marijuana-related Crimes in Hawaii

Possession for Personal Use

  • Three grams or less: Violation with a $130 fine. 
  • More than three grams but less than one ounce: Petty misdemeanor, up to 30 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
  • One ounce or more but less than one pound: Misdemeanor, up to one year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.
  • One pound or more:Felony, up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Possession with Intent to Distribute

  • One pound or more but less than 25 pounds:Felony, up to 10 years in prison and/or $25,000 fine.
  • 25 pounds or more: Felony, 20 years in prison and/or $50,000 fine.


  • Less than one ounce: Misdemeanor, up to one year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine.
  • One ounce or more but less than five pounds: Felony, up to 20 years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine.


  • 25 or more but less than 50 plants:Felony, up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine.
  • 100 or more plants: Felony, 20 years in prison and/or $50,000 fine.

Hash & Concentrates

Possession of:

  • Less than 1/8 ounce of concentrates: Misdemeanor, one year incarceration and/or a $2,000 fine.
  • More than 1/8 ounce but less than one ounce:Felony, 10 years incarceration and a $25,000 fine.


  • Use or possession of paraphernalia: Violation, maximum fine of $500.
  • Delivery of paraphernalia to a minor: Felony, up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a $25,000 fine.

Legal Cannabis and Buy Online Alternatives

Although cannabis is legal in many states, hemp-derived THC products are still rising as a noteworthy alternative thanks to their affordability and accessibility. Hemp-derived THC products are federally legal, unlike traditional marijuana products, meaning they can often be ordered online and shipped right to your door. Read “Is Delta-8 Legal? A State by State Guide to Delta-8-THC Laws” to learn more about hemp THC laws near you, then check out our Elev8 and Cloud9 Collections.

 Vida Optima Delta-9-THC Gummies

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