It has been a little over a year since Governor Ben Cayetano
signed a bill making Hawai‘i the eighth state to legalize
medicinal marijuana. Additional legislation was required to
specify how patients would be certified to receive the drug,
and how they would get it. On Dec. 28, 2000, it became possible
for patients to register for certification. By March, applicants
were beginning to receive their certification from the State
Narcotics Enforcement Division.
Even though Hawai‘i has made it possible for all doctors,
whether a MD, DO, or DDS to prescribe the drug to patients,
and even though as many as 100 patients have received certification,
at this point, Hawai‘i patients are still running into problems.
Some physicians are reluctant to prescribe the drug because
they are afraid of the consequences of violating the Federal
law. A glaucoma patient who calls himself “Mr. Green Bud,”
said that in order to receive his certification he had to
find a doctor who would prescribe the drug to him. “I had
to call around 25 doctors before I found one that would prescribe
the drug to me,” said Green Bud.
The use of marijuana maybe illegal under Federal laws, but
that law does not prohibit a doctor from prescribing it. After
all a prescription is only an educated suggestion from the
doctor about treatment. The doctor is not supplying the drug
to the patient. As a matter of fact, the state’s provision
for medicinal marijuana use does not make the drug legally
available to the patient. Green Bud said “I find my medicinal
marijuana the same way that all the other drug dealers and
users do, on the streets.”
The certification is said to be pretty fast and easy. Green
Bud, who received his certification in April, said, “the certification
process was pretty simple. Once I found a doctor that would
prescribe the drug to me first, I had my certificate in about
two weeks.” Although the state has made it possible for patients
to use the drug, the Federal Government still has the authority
to arrest any patient using the drug, even Green Bud. When
the State Narcotics Enforcement Division was asked if any
patients had been arrested for use of medicinal marijuana,
they said that information is not available.
Green Bud is not worried about being arrested. He was told
by the State Narcotics Enforcement Division, that the chances
of a FDA agent coming to his home is unlikely, and that the
FDA has better things to do than chase down all the medicinal
marijuana users. Even though he is not worried about being
arrested, he didn’t want to provide his real name.
Medicinal marijuana has come a long way in the last year
and more patients are turning to it for relief of their symptoms.
The drug has not been proven to cure any pre-existing conditions
that a patient may have. However, it is cheaper and has the
same effect as the other legally available drugs, including
opiates, Demerol, Vicodin, percocates, and Valium, which are
known to be addictive.
So what attempts have patients made on using medicinal hemp?
Basically, if you have a condition, find a doctor to prescribe
the drug and get certified. You could be using it with in
a few weeks.