is weed legal in hawaii

Is Weed Legal In Hawaii: Full Guide

Table of Contents

Hawaii is widely known as the Aloha State and is famous for its stunning beaches, lush vegetation, and active volcanoes. The state is a popular tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors each year who come to experience Hawaii’s unique culture and natural beauty. Some of Hawaii’s most remarkable attractions include Waikiki Beach, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, and the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where visitors can witness active lava flows and explore ancient lava tubes. Hawaii is also known for its rich cultural heritage, including hula dancing, ukulele music, and traditional Hawaiian cuisine. Is weed legal in Hawaii? Read on to find out.

Is Weed Legal in Hawaii? Straight to the point.

  • Recreational THC: No
  • Medical THC: Yes
  • CBD: Yes
  • Delta-8: No

Medical Weed Laws

Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program was established in 2000 and provides qualifying patients with legal protection from arrest and prosecution for the medical use of marijuana. In order to participate in the program, patients must be diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition and have a recommendation from a licensed physician. 

The list of qualifying conditions includes, but is not limited to:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Lupus
  • Epilepsy 
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder 
  • 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

Patients must also be residents of Hawaii and provide proof of residency. Minors under the age of 18 can participate in the program but must have a parent or legal guardian serve as their caregiver. The caregiver must also be a Hawaii resident and register with the Medical Marijuana Program. There is a $38.50 fee to obtain a medical marijuana registry card, which must be renewed annually. To stay compliant with the program’s rules and regulations, patients must also follow all state and federal laws regarding the possession and use of marijuana.

In Hawaii, patients or their designated caregivers are permitted to obtain marijuana from a dispensary or grow up to seven plants at home. For patients and caregivers who are participating in Hawaii’s medical cannabis program, the possession limit is set at four ounces. This means that they are legally allowed to have no more than four ounces of medical cannabis in their possession at any given time. 

However, there have been complaints from patients about the limited access to dispensaries, with some areas lacking one altogether. In response to this issue, the state released a dispensary licensure program. The goal of the dispensary licensure program is to make medicinal products readily available for registered patients. How well this program works remains to be seen! Visitors to Hawaii can apply for a 60-day registration card which permits them to purchase from the state’s dispensaries; the card carries a fee of $49.50.

Recreational Weed Laws

As of March 2023, recreational marijuana is not yet legal in Hawaii. However, there is renewed optimism for the legalization of recreational marijuana, with a bill being considered by the state legislature. If the bill passes, it would allow for the possession, use, and sale of recreational marijuana to individuals aged 21 and over. While there is no official buying limit set yet, the proposed bill would allow individuals to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use. It is still unclear whether any other restrictions will be imposed if the bill passes.

Is Weed Decriminalized in Hawaii?

On July 1, 2019, Governor David Ige declared his intention to allow a legislative bill, aimed at decriminalizing minor possession of cannabis, to become law without his personal endorsement. Effective January 11, 2020, this bill stipulates that the possession of three grams or less of marijuana shall be subject to a monetary penalty of $130. Prior to this legislation, even the slightest possession of cannabis was punishable by a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,000.

Cannabinoid Variants

In order to access marijuana-derived cannabinoids legally in Hawaii, patients must obtain them through licensed and regulated channels such as state-approved dispensaries. However, there are various cannabinoid variants derived from hemp, and altering hemp-derived cannabinoids such as CBD can produce psychoactive effects. This has created a legal gray area, with each state taking different approaches to its regulation. Here is where Hawaii stands on using these alternative cannabinoids within the state.

Is CBD legal in Hawaii?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp production in the United States. This legislation opened up vast possibilities for CBD-rich hemp to enter the mainstream market, allowing consumers to purchase CBD in retail establishments and online. CBD is often found in supplements, topicals, edibles, portable vape pens, home goods, and beauty and body care products. 

The Farm Bill legally protects CBD production, but it is not without stipulation. All commercially available CBD products must be derived from hemp and contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 THC. However, some states have elected to regulate CBD independently and may have further restrictions on its use and distribution. CBD is legal in Hawaii.

Is Delta-8 legal in Hawaii?

As of March 2023, Delta-8 THC is not legal in Hawaii. Delta-8 THC is a compound found in marijuana and hemp known for its mild psychoactive effects, similar to Delta-9 THC, but with fewer side effects. Because it is considered an isomerized cannabinoid, Hawaii has banned its use. 

Is Delta-10 legal in Hawaii?

Delta-10 is made in a similar fashion to Delta-8 and is, therefore, illegal in Hawaii. 

Are THC-O and Other THC Variants Legal in Hawaii?

In recent years, alternative hemp-derived cannabinoids have dominated the market as a more accessible way to get high. However, they have existed in a legal gray area until February 2023. 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared Delta-8-THC-O and Delta-9-THC-O illegal controlled substances. These compounds are not naturally occurring in either hemp or marijuana and are considered synthetic cannabinoids. 

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized industrial hemp and its byproducts so long as they contain no more than 0.3% Delta-9-THC by volume. The market for cannabinoids has grown in the states since then as several alternative cannabinoids emerged, including synthetic THC isomers. 

For the time being, this latest update does not affect alternative cannabinoids like THC-JD, THC-P, THCP-O, THC-H, and THC-B because they do exist naturally in trace amounts. Advocates feel that only the end of the federal prohibition on marijuana will successfully regulate synthetic or naturally occurring cannabinoids.

Are HHC and HHC-O legal in Hawaii?

HHC-O is a novel cannabinoid derived from hemp through a clean manufacturing process that involves hydrogenation. Unlike regular hemp-derived cannabinoids such as Delta-8, HHC, and HHC-O bind to different receptors and are believed to be more stable at the molecular level due to their hydrogenated structure. 

It is also considered more potent than Delta-8 and Delta-10 and has been found to be efficiently absorbed by the body. However, HHC-O is currently illegal in Hawaii as it is created through isomerization. This process is covered by the state’s updated interim rules on prohibited ingredients, which include cannabinoids like Delta-8 and Delta-10. 

Cultivation Laws

In Hawaii, medical marijuana patients can grow up to seven plants for personal use. Cultivation laws for anyone other than patients are strict and come with severe penalties. 

Cultivating 25-50 plants is considered a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine. The cultivation of 50-100 plants is punishable by ten years in prison and/or a fine of $25,000, and the cultivation of 100 or more plants is punishable by 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $50,000. Cultivating less than 25 plants on another person’s property without their consent is also considered a felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. 

If the number of plants is 25 or more on someone else’s property without their consent, the penalty increases to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of $50,000. Cultivation in a structure where a person under 16 years old is present carries an additional two years of imprisonment. If the cultivation causes substantial bodily harm to a minor under 18, then the additional imprisonment is a term of five years.

Getting a license to grow cannabis for retail in Hawaii was no easy feat when medical marijuana was legalized. There are only eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and currently, the state is not taking applications for new licensees. 

Where to Buy Weed in Hawaii

In Hawaii, the legal purchase of marijuana is restricted to licensed dispensaries. These dispensaries are allowed to sell marijuana and marijuana-infused products to registered patients with valid medical marijuana cards.


There are currently eight licensed medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Hawaii. Registered patients may purchase products directly from these dispensaries by presenting their medical marijuana card and a valid government-issued ID. 


Licensed delivery services may also be available in certain areas of the state, allowing registered patients to have their marijuana products delivered to their homes.

Direct to Consumer

Marijuana cannot be purchased directly from other individuals or grown for personal use, even with a medical marijuana card. All marijuana must be obtained from a licensed dispensary or delivery service in compliance with Hawaii state laws.

Black Market

Despite legalization efforts, the marijuana black market remains active. The illegal purchase of weed from a black market dealer comes with serious risks. Not only is it difficult to determine the potency and purity of the product, but the legal implications can be disastrous. In some cases, a mere slap on the wrist, but in others, buying weed illegally results in jail time or a prison sentence. For those that live in a state with a medical or recreational marijuana program, it’s best to obtain cannabis through legal channels.

General FAQ

Where can you smoke weed in Hawaii? 

In Hawaii, it is illegal to smoke marijuana in public places. This includes beaches, parks, and other areas accessible to the public. Smoking marijuana is only allowed in private residences, which includes your home or the home of someone who has given you permission to smoke on their property. It is important to note that smoking marijuana in a rental property may be prohibited by the lease agreement.

Can you smoke weed in public in Hawaii? 

Smoking weed in public is illegal in Hawaii and can result in fines and/or imprisonment. It is only legal to consume marijuana on private property with the owner’s permission. This includes private homes and certain rental properties that allow smoking. It is important to note that even if you have a medical marijuana card, you are not exempt from these laws and may face penalties for smoking in public.

When was weed legalized in Hawaii?

Medical marijuana was legalized in Hawaii in 2000 with the passage of Hawaii Senate Bill 862. Recreational marijuana has not yet been legalized in Hawaii, although possession of small amounts has been decriminalized.

Punishment for Illegal Acts FAQ

What are the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed?

In Hawaii, the penalties for selling, gifting, transporting, or importing weed vary depending on the amount and location of the offense.

Possession of three grams or less of marijuana is a violation punishable by a fine of $130, while possession of more than three grams but less than one ounce of marijuana is a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000. 

Possession of one ounce or more but less than one pound is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine, and possession of one pound or more of marijuana is a felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

The penalties for selling or delivering marijuana are also based on the amount of marijuana involved, with distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana being a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year imprisonment and/or a $2,000 fine, and distribution of five pounds or more of marijuana being a felony punishable by 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine. 

Possession with intent to distribute any amount of marijuana within 750 feet of school grounds or a park, or on or within 10 feet of a parked school vehicle is a class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or $10,000 fine.

What is the penalty for selling to a minor?

Selling to a minor typically results in legal penalties, which vary depending on the location and the specific circumstances of the offense. These penalties can include fines, revocation of a business license, community service, and even imprisonment.

What is possession with the intent to sell?

Possession with the intent to sell refers to the criminal offense of possessing illegal drugs or controlled substances with the intention of selling them. It is a more serious offense than simple drug possession, as it implies an intent to distribute drugs to others. The specific elements of the offense vary by jurisdiction. Generally, they involve evidence of intent to sell, such as the presence of drug paraphernalia, large quantities of drugs, or evidence of drug sales. Penalties for possession with the intent to sell can include fines, probation, and imprisonment.

When is possession still a crime?

Possession is a crime if you possess more than the allotted legal limit or if you are suspected of intent to distribute.

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