Hawaii health officials could soon be forced to officially change the term “medical marijuana” to “medical cannabis,” which legislative forces believe more accurately describes the true therapeutic nature of the herb without the racial connotations.
There is a bill currently sitting on the desk of Governor David Ige that, if signed, would dictate the change of all documentation, websites or other materials pertaining to the state’s medical marijuana program to express medical cannabis instead.
The bill was introduced by Senator Mike Gabbard because, according to its language, the term marijuana “carries prejudicial implications rooted in racial stereotypes.”
If Governor Ige signs the measure or simply allows it to become applicable by taking no action whatsoever, the state Department of Health would have until the beginning of 2019 to amend the language of all medical cannabis-related information.
If this happens, Hawaii would become the first state to require the word marijuana be legally changed to cannabis.
Lawmakers also hope that Governor Ige swoops in and signs another medical marijuana-related measure that would expedite the opening of dispensaries.
A report from the Hawaii Tribune-Herald indicates that ever since the Health Department issued licenses last year to those companies interested in growing and selling medicinal cannabis, none have been able to service a single patient. The majority of the hold up is due to testing issues – the law requires testing, but the state has failed to license a company to perform the tests.
Three testing companies are currently awaiting approval, and Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo says all three testing services are “on track to meet certification requirements.”
The measure would also expand the state’s list of qualified conditions and the amount of weed allowed to be grown at home for personal use.
Governor Ige has not yet indicated whether he intends to sign either proposal.