By Steve Elliott
Most of Hawaii's 13,000 medical marijuana patients first had to commit a crime to obtain and grow their medicinal cannabis under the state's laws. Though Hawaii voters legalized medical marijuana back in 2000, it didn't make provisions for legal dispensaries; it required patients to grow their own supply, but didn't specify where to get the seeds or plants.
"When the state passed the law, they allowed you to have a card, but they didn't provide you any way to get the product, grow the product or how to make the product into any form of medicine," said Jari Sugano, whose first cannabis plant came illegaly from another Hawaiian caregiver, reports News21. The plant was the only way she could grow medical marijuana for her now six-year-old daughter, who has Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy.
The sale or transfer or seeds and plants is still illegal in Hawaii, even between qualified patients. For 15 years, the absence of a legal solution has fueled a thriving black market and made it hard to know who's using weed legally and who's not. Only this year did the Hawaii Legislature finally get around to legalizing dispensaries.