Legal Questions

You can only use marijuana in your home or in a parked (non moving) car.

You are not allowed to use it on the street, at work, or in any public places like an outdoor park. Remember to always have your medical marijuana card with you.

Of course, we do not encourage patients to use marijuana immediately before driving, and in some lines of work, such as heavy machine operation, medical marijuana is definitely contraindicated.

You can, but it must be concealed or covered, i.e., in a bag. You can have as much as 2-3 ounces, which is about three large mason jars. For most people, this is way more than they would need for several months, at least.

As far as driving around with it: you can have it in your car, so long as it’s covered, and you have your medmj card with you.


Airplanes occupy federal airspace. Federal law prohibits use of marijuana in any form. Only local Hawaii State law protects you from local prosecution.

You cannot. Only a Hawaii medmj card will get you into the dispensaries. This may change in 2018, however.
Yes, you must obtain your medical marijuana at a dispensary. Even if you have a card, buying it from a friend, or on the black market is not advisable. (i.e., it’s illegal, even if you have a 329 card, to buy from a friend or other contact.)

Prior to dispensaries, (for the past 15+ yrs) the state of Hawaii has expected everyone with a card to either a) grow it themselves, or b) know someone who grows, who can be your official caregiver. However, a “caregivers” can only have one “patient” assigned to them. Thus, many people could not access medical marijuana, even if they had a card. Hence, the dispensary law signed by Ige in July 2015.

You need to take this risk on your own, or be clear this with your employer first.

Currently there is no job protection written into the law. There is housing protection from angry landlords, but unfortunately, there is no job protection.

So… if your employer wants to do urine testing on all employees, and you test positive, it is up to them whether to keep you as an employee. Of course, there are many jobs were you shouldn’t use marijuana at all under any circumstances, such as: piloting, driving, airline industry, jobs where quick motor skills are of paramount importance, etc.

Federal jobs in Hawaii (such as, a Pearl Harbor shipyard civilian contractor) are definitely supposed to be marijuana-free, since Hawaii state law would not apply there.

Your employer cannot find out about it. Employers who try to do background checks by calling the registry office will not be given any information. 

Just like with any other protected health information. Of course, Dr. Cook’s office staff, and the registry office, will know. But neither of those offices will release your information. Health records may only be released under rare circumstances, for example, a subpoena by a judge, or if there is a threat of violence made to another person.

However, if you attempt to register a gun with HPD, and you already have a medmj card, HPD will find out, and block the registration. Of course, there is nothing illegal about having a medmj card. Still, in that case, HPD will block the gun registration.

The marijuana registry office will not release any names or info for the following purposes: child custody hearings, civil tort claims, divorce hearings, and evictions.

Ultimately, the only reason the registry will typically release your name will be for criminal investigative purposes. See the state website for more info.

Currently there is housing protection written into the law. Thus, no apartment building can evict a person due to their medical marijuana use. It is a medicine, and you have the right to use medicine in your rental home or apartment. However, buildings may have contracts saying that smoke or vapor is not allowed. Thus, in those situations, you would need to find a way to use oil or tincture or edibles while at home.

Of course, military bases do not fall entirely under Hawaii State Law, so these sort of housing rights may not apply there.

Patients who seek to use, or grow, in a rental unit should seek legal guidance.

Discriminatory practices against patients with valid 329 cards have been prohibited by Hawaii law. See HRS 421J, 514A, 514B. This includes landlords attempting to evict someone due to their using valid medical cannabis.

As far as growing, there are currently no limits as to where someone can grow, but it must be either the qualifying patient’s “home address” or their caregiver’s “home address.”

If your housing is federally subsidized, then the federal laws prohibiting marijuana would apply, and would likely over-ride Hawaii’s law.

Those with 329 (medmj) cards cannot register firearms at HPD.

If you are a veteran or not, and you own firearms, we recommend having a friend or family member without a medmj card store your firearms and officially register them to their name. If you ever leave island, you can transfer their registration to a new state.

If you already have a medmj card, and you try to register a new firearm with HPD, they will block the registration.


If you attempt to register a firearm, they may simply check with the registry to see if you’re on it, or not, and if you are, they’ll block the gun registration.

However, they cannot see your medical information.

If law enforcement has reason to doubt the authenticity of your card, they’re allowed to contact the registry to see if you’re really on the list, however, at no point can they look at your medical information, i.e., your medical notes, etc.

Your card will *NOT* have your diagnosis on it.

For more info, visit the Department of Health’s website: