House Bill 2729 is making its way through the Hawaii Legislature. It is a wide-ranged bill that would permit dispensaries to produce edibles and marijuana-infused products. The products would be capped at having no more than 10mg THC each.
Warning labels would also have to be visible on all packages, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. The Senate’s draft of this bill also includes provisions to protect medical marijuana patients’ jobs. If the legislation passes, employers couldn’t discriminate or fire employees who have a medical marijuana card and test positive for THC.
The only exceptions are those that work as a state law enforcement official or those that drive/operate heavy machinery.
Head of Hawaii’s Drug Policy Forum, Carl Bergquist, said, “Right now, no one is protected (at work) and that’s really unacceptable. There’s no reason for us to have had legal medical cannabis for two decades almost… and tout its value but if you actually work somewhere, you can get fired.”
House Bill 2729 will receive a full Senate floor vote. If it is approved it would be delivered to a conference committee where members from the House and Senate would compromise on differences in their versions of the bill.
Senator Roz Baker proposed the legislation. She stressed the importance of labeling, dosage and proper packaging for edibles. Edibles would have to be in clear packages. She also included that employee protections, except for the excluded industries, are important.
She said, “We wanted to make sure that just because a person is a medical cannabis patient and they’re qualified for use, except in certain circumstances, they should not be suspended, or discharged or discriminated against.”
Representative John Mizuno introduced the legislation. The only issue he had with the proposed legislation is language prohibiting edibles that would be appealing to children, such as bright colored candy and gummies. Mizuno says he’d prefer a gummy bear if he were a patient. He stressed the importance of proper labeling to prevent accidental ingestions.
Mizuno also supports workplace protections.
He said, “If I’m in the office and going through paperwork…at the most I might get sleepy. Am I a danger to anyone else?”
Some employers prefer to operate under federal law, which may cause some conflict should the legislation pass.
Bergquist said, “For an employer to hide behind that and say they might get in trouble seems disingenuous.”
The Department of Health has some concerns regarding edibles, saying that children may confuse them for a dessert item. The benefit, pointed out by Bergquist is that proper and measured dosages would be offered. Accuracy in dosage is better for patients than trying to gauge the dosages by making edibles themselves.
Also included in the legislation is a provision to allow tourists to purchase medical marijuana. Visitors, however, may not be permitted to purchase edibles.