Read Time: 4:00 Mins.
Part 1 in a Series
For people living in cold, wintery regions, January and February are perfect for traveling to warmer climates, and replacing your snow boots with sandals has enormous appeal. One drawback, however, is flying with cannabis which is illegal under federal law. So, even if you’re flying between states that legalized cannabis, the TSA can confiscate your marijuana and turn you over to local police. Thankfully, cannabis-based tourism is underway in some states with warmer climates, and we’re currently exploring “Canna Tour” options for Hawai’i, California, and Nevada. California legalized adult-use as of January 2018, and Nevada did the same in November 2016. Purchasing cannabis for adults in those states is a fairly simple process depending on your location. Unfortunately, by Hawaiian standards, it is not the laid back experience one would expect.
Live Aloha, but Know the Law
Grab your boarding passes, swimsuit, and sunscreen and let’s head to Hawai’i. The Hawaiian Islands have a long history with cannabis (pakalolo in Hawaiian, meaning crazy tobacco), and Maui Wowie and Kona Gold are two of the most famous classic strains. For adventurous tourists, finding underground, illegal weed was never an arduous endeavor, and the island state legalized medicinal cannabis in 2000. Extremely limited in scope, the original law simply permitted individuals to grow up to seven cannabis plants for personal consumption in their home.
In 2015, the state legislature passed a new law establishing dispensaries, but even today, only a handful exist across the island chain. To use a dispensary residents need a “329 Card” provided by a licensed physician for select medical conditions. Thankfully, beginning in 2019 (the exact date is still TBD), traveling adult patients who possess a medical cannabis ID card and a valid state-issued ID will be able to apply online for short-term registration in Hawaii. Using a temporary card, visitors may legally purchase and possess approved medical cannabis products sold at licensed dispensaries. The non-refundable registration fee is $45.00 plus a $4.50 online portal fee and will be valid for a 60-day period. Out-of-state patients will have a renewal option for another 60-day period within 12 months. For up to date information about out-of-state patients, visit the state’s Dept. of Health website.
Under Hawaiian law, you may only consume cannabis in a private residence. Medical cannabis cannot be used in any moving vehicle, at any workplace, on any school grounds, or in any public place. Just like on the Mainland, do NOT take cannabis on an airplane. Today, if you are not a patient, cannabis possession is classified as a misdemeanor. If you have less than one ounce there’s a $1,000 maximum fine and possibly 30 days in jail. Also, if you’re visiting a National Park or other federal land, consuming cannabis is illegal and can result in steep fines.
A New Take on a B & B ⎼ Bud & Breakfast
Are you looking for a different type of B & B travel experience? Then check out the online portal Bud & Breakfast which offers cannabis-friendly accommodations in several countries and U.S. states, including Hawai’i. The site is similar to other travel portals like Airbnb or VRBO® where you book the residence and contact the host all through the site. At the time of this article, we saw options ranging from full-blown estates to simple rooms, and even some incredible tree houses. The site advertises accommodations as safe, legal, and 420 friendly, but there is no posted information about whether the rental price includes cannabis.
A Three Hour Tour
No, your Canna Tour experience will not be like the shipmates on the Minnow from the classic TV comedy Gilligan’s Island. On the Big Island, Hawaii Cannabis Farm Tours offers three different tours of cultivation and processing facilities, ranging from two to five hours. Depending on your choice, the tours depart either from Hilo or Kona, and once at the farms, the guides cover the local cannabis topics you’re most interested in exploring. In general, this includes growing, production, compliance and legal knowledge of the state’s cannabis rules and laws. According to the tour’s website, “…you’ll be treated to Hawaii hospitality and aloha with your new cannabis community in Hawaii. Each person on the tour will receive a special gift from us to you that you can take back home as a souvenir.” We’re guessing it is not a pre-roll. Advanced reservations are highly recommended as the tours sell out quickly.
Your Self-Guided Dispensary Tour
When the visitor regulations ease this year, tourists can buy cannabis products at dispensaries on the islands of Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Two companies on Hawaii Island (AKA, The Big Island) received licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana but have not yet opened. Hopefully, they will be up and running when the temporary card program gets underway.
If you’re interested in visiting local dispensaries, this is the list as of January 2019:
Kauai ⎼ Green Aloha
One more thing. Under state law, Hawaiian dispensaries are cashless in part to avoid robberies. To make a purchase, patients must install the CanPay app on their smartphone for use at the dispensary.
Hawai’i is an amazing place to visit for its sheer beauty, outdoor and water adventures, culinary delights, and the welcoming aloha spirit. It’s economy heavily relies on tourism, yet Canna Tourism remains in the initial stages. If you’re planning on traveling there anytime soon and cannabis is part of your plans, we hope this article provides some helpful information. Next in our series is Canna Tourism in the Golden State where many exciting options exist.
Have you consumed cannabis in Hawai’i? Did you visit a dispensary or take a cultivation tour? Please share your experience with us on our social channels.
Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.