Is Weed Legal in Hawaii? HI Cannabis Laws (June 2023)

Illustration of Hawaii Tiki masks and Hibiscus flower
Written by Livvy Ashton | Last updated: June 2, 2023

The legal status of marijuana in Hawaii depends on its use. Medical marijuana patients can purchase marijuana from state-licensed dispensaries if they have valid medical cards.

Even patients from other states can use their medical marijuana cards to buy their medicine in Hawaii.

The state also decriminalized possession of 3 grams of cannabis, establishing a fine of $130.

Growing marijuana is Illegal in Hawaii, even for medicinal purposes

Despite these relatively relaxed laws, there’s no legal framework for the sale of cannabis products.

It’s possible that Hawaii will legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2023

So how do you legally enjoy psychoactive cannabinoids in Hawaii? Is there a legal way to buy marijuana there?

Let’s break down the Hawaiian marijuana laws and explore alternative options like delta 8 THC.

Is Weed Legal in Hawaii?

Yes and no. Marijuana in Hawaii is legal for patients with qualifying conditions who have state-issued medical marijuana licenses, as well as for patients from other states with valid medical marijuana cards from their homes.

The cannabis industry has expanded and grown stronger, but statistics report on marijuana show that adult-use or recreational cannabis remains illegal in Hawaii.

Here’s a brief overview of cannabis regulations depending on the intended use.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Hawaii?

Hawaii has come a long way in its cannabis legislation, but unfortunately, recreational users still can’t legally enjoy their smoke. Carrying less than 3 grams of marijuana is punishable with a fine, but higher quantities are subject to heftier penalties.

Related: States Where Recreational Weed Is Legal

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Hawaii?

In 2000, Hawaii became the first state that legalized medical marijuana through the state legislature rather than through a ballot initiative.

If you live in Hawaii and have a valid medical marijuana card, you can purchase marijuana from a dispensary or grow it yourself.

However, the government plans to ban home cultivation for patients living near dispensaries. Transporting medical cannabis between islands is prohibited.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Hawaii

Getting caught with more than 3 grams, up to an ounce, is a misdemeanor punishable by 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in Hawaii?

The state made a small step forward in 2019 by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. If you have 3 grams of cannabis or less, you can receive a fine of $130.

The new law also allowed prisoners convicted of nonviolent drug crimes to apply for release to a drug-treatment facility and the expungement of the records of those who finish the program. These changes only applied to convicts serving jail time for possessing 3 grams or less.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Hawaii?

In 2021, the Hawaii Senate approved a bill to legalize marijuana. The new law would allow adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow the plant for personal use.

The piece of legislation passed through the House, but it’s still waiting for the governor to sign or veto the bill.

The governor said he’s unsure whether or not he should legalize marijuana because the federal law makes it confusing for the public to think that it’s legal here but if they extend that liberty further, they will eventually crash with the federal law and be prosecuted.

Delta 8 THC: A Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana in Hawaii

Image of marijuana buds on the table

Though small amounts of cannabis for personal use have been decriminalized in Hawaii, there’s no legal distribution network.

High-THC cannabis is also illegal at the federal level, so you can’t order it online from one state and have it delivered to your house in Hawaii.

However, thanks to recent advancements in extraction methods, a new-ish cannabinoid has emerged on the market. It’s about 50% as potent as delta 9 from marijuana, and what’s even better — it’s legal in Hawaii.

Delta 8 THC vs. Delta 9 THC

Delta 8 and delta 9 THC are two different versions of the THC molecule.

While they’re strikingly similar on the surface, their molecular structure is slightly different when it comes to the arrangement of their atomic bonds.

For delta 8 THC, the atomic bond appears at the 8th carbon chain, while for delta 9, this bond is at the 9th chain.

This small difference makes delta 8 THC about half as strong as delta 9.

Cons of Delta 9 THC from Marijuana

Most people can enjoy the psychoactive effects of marijuana. In low and moderate doses, delta 9 THC can ease stress, relieve anxiety, reduce pain, and enhance your cognitive functions.

Higher doses will get you high, altering your way of thinking, perception of time, pain, and pleasure — and boosting your appetite.

However, some individuals are sensitive to the psychedelic nature of delta 9 THC. For them, the side effects of delta 9 include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Problems with coordination
  • Short-term memory impairment

That’s why delta 8 THC is making waves these days.

Effects and Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Since delta-8 THC is twice less potent than delta-9, you’d need to consume twice as much delta 8 to experience the same intensity of effects. The high is also more mellow and carries a lower risk of paranoia and anxiety.

While delta 9 THC can be extracted only from marijuana plants (which are illegal in Hawaii), delta 8 is produced from hemp by converting CBD with specialized catalysts, such as zinc bromide.

People use delta 8 THC for the following health benefits:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Neuroprotection

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Hawaii?

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp by removing it from the list of controlled substances. Hemp became once again an agricultural commodity.

The new law states that all hemp-derived products are federally legal as long as they contain no more than 0.3% delta 9 THC by dry weight. When the Farm Bill was formed, nobody expected the boom on the isomers of THC will explode so soon.

The advancements in extraction methods made it possible to extract usable amounts of delta 8 THC from hemp. This means that delta 8 products are allowed at the federal level, provided that their delta 9 THC content is kept below 0.3%.

14 states have banned delta 8 products so far. Hawaii follows federal law, meaning you can legally buy delta 8 THC locally and online.

Benefits of Buying Delta 8 THC in Hawaii

Buying delta 8 THC locally is a risky business. The space is unregulated and there’s a shockingly large number of untested, dangerous products being sold in local stores.

If you want the easiest way to buy high-quality delta 8 THC without breaking the bank, we recommend shopping online.

Buying delta 8 THC online is easier and more convenient because you can:

  • Look into the certificates of analysis (CoAs)
  • Read customer reviews
  • Reach out to other users on social media platforms and forums
  • Carefully comb through the company’s website and learn as much as you can about them.

It’s difficult to check these things when you’re shopping around the neighborhood.

Another perk of shopping for delta 8 online is better prices. Online stores don’t have to deal with the middleman, so they can put lower price tags on their products. Not only that, but you can also use coupon codes, reward programs, subscription orders, and other smart ways to save money on high-quality delta 8.

Best Online Delta 8 Vendors

No two delta 8 THC products are created equal. The local market is full of mediocre products that don’t have relevant certificates. Some of the products sold in local hemp stores have significantly more delta 8 THC than allowed by the 2018 Farm Bill.

If you don’t have time to run your own market research, here we highlight two of our top favorite delta 8 brands that make premium-grade delta 8 THC extracts at reasonable prices.

Both companies triple-test their products for potency and purity in third-party laboratories to ensure maximum safety.

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Get 15% off all Area 52 products. Use code “CFAH” at checkout.

Area 52 is a Nevada-based manufacturer that offers a broad range of cannabinoid-based extracts known for their exceptionally high terpene levels. The brand specializes in delta 8 THC distillate, which it sources from organic hemp farms in Colorado and Kentucky.

These products are free from solvents and harsh acids. The conversion process from CBD is conducted by highly qualified lab workers to ensure 100% purity of the final formulas.

You can choose from basic forms of delta 8 THC, such as gummies, tinctures, and vape pens. Area 52 also offers a selection of real full-spectrum CBD products crafted for different health needs, such as energy and sleep.

2. Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs are the go-to choice for beginners and occasional delta 8 THC users who take fewer milligrams in a single dose than seasoned consumers.

The company offers a similar product range to Area 52 — tinctures, gummies, and vape carts — but in slightly lower concentrations.

Lower potencies translate into a lower cost per product, so these extracts also come in handy if you’re shopping on a budget.

If you’re into creating your own cannabinoid blends infused with terpenes, Finest Labs has got you covered with single terpenes and special mixes redolent of classic cannabis strains.


Who Can Use Medical Marijuana in Hawaii?

You can apply for a medical marijuana card in Hawaii if you have one of the following conditions:

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Cancer
  • Cachexia
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Lupus
  • Muscle spasms
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Seizures
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe pain

Can You Smoke Marijuana in Public?

No, smoking marijuana isn’t legal in Hawaii, even if you’re a medical marijuana patient. Cannabis consumption is limited to private properties.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Hawaii?

No, growing marijuana in Hawaii is illegal. If the police find cannabis plants in your house, they will treat it as possession, charging you accordingly.

Traveling with Marijuana in Hawaii

As mentioned, you can’t travel with marijuana between islands. You also can’t take it from Hawaii to another state, even if it has a medical marijuana program. That’s because the transportation of marijuana between state lines is considered drug trafficking. You can be jailed for 5 years and be charged with a $250,000 fine.

If you’re traveling with marijuana in Hawaii as a patient, make sure to carry your medical marijuana card and legal proof of purchase from your dispensary.

Can You Buy Weed Online in Hawaii?

No, since marijuana is illegal for recreational use in Hawaii, you can’t order it online for delivery.

Unless you’re a medical marijuana patient.

You can purchase marijuana online from Aloha State dispensaries which partnered with Hempshop, an online dispensary that ships cannabis products throughout the state.

Other than that, buying marijuana online is illegal in Hawaii. Black market cannabis is often heavily contaminated with toxins. A 2016 analysis of illegal farms in California reported that over 90% of the tested samples contained dangerous amounts of pesticides and heavy metals.

Is CBD Oil from Hemp Legal in Hawaii?

Image of hemp oil in a bottle on top of hemp seeds

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp and its derivatives by removing them from the list of controlled substances.

Hemp plants have become once again an agricultural commodity. Farmers can grow and sell them for any purpose, including food, clothing, construction materials, biofuel, and health supplements like CBD oil.

CBD products are widely available in Hawaii. You can find them in pharmacies, dispensaries, vape stores, specialty hemp stores, and even at gas stations.

However, since the market is unregulated, your best bet for finding high-quality CBD products is through a reputable online store.

Key Takeaways on Marijuana Legal Status in Hawaii

Hawaii is on a good way to legalizing marijuana. Possession of small amounts for personal use was decriminalized in 2019, and the state has a thriving medical marijuana program.

However, since recreational use remains illegal, you don’t have many options outside of the medical spectrum to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of high-THC cannabis.

If you’re looking for a legal alternative to marijuana in Hawaii, consider trying delta 8 THC products. Hemp-derived delta 8 THC is federally legal and offers a smoother set of psychoactive sensations — with a lower risk of anxious side effects.

Livvy is a registered nurse (RN) and board-certified nurse midwife (CNM) in the state of New Jersey. After giving birth to her newborn daughter, Livvy stepped down from her full-time position at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey. This gave her the opportunity to spend more time writing articles on all topics related to pregnancy and prenatal care.