Two messages from the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai‘i indicate that its going to be a lot harder to get medicated courtesy of just any old doctor. Amazingly, some people still believe marijuana is "medical". Do you know anybody like that?
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Aloha, Everyone. March 17, 2014
This morning, two items have come up that require your urgent attention. There will be a hearing of the House Committee on Health on Wednesday the 19th at 8:30AM in Conference Room 329. This hearing will deal with two bills relating to medical marijuana (well, one bill and one resolution) and we really need your support.
- SB2574: While the intent of this bill is good, one provision of the bill in its current form could prove disastrous for the medical marijuana program in Hawaii. The bill attempts to fix the primary care physician language in the medical marijuana law by adding several specialties to the list of types of doctors that can recommend medical marijuana. This is unlike SB2092 that fixes the problem by removing this requirement entirely.
However, this bill includes a provision requiring that the recommending primary care physician must be: "designated as a patient’s primary care physician by the patient’s insurance provider." This baffling and arbitrary requirement would make it such that patients without HMO's would be essentially excluded from the medical marijuana program. Patients without insurance, or patients with other forms of insurance such as PPO insurance do not designate a doctor to be their primary care physician. This provision is very arbitrary, and unfairly excludes people from the program based on the type of insurance coverage that they have.
While we support the intent of this bill to make the medical marijuana program more inclusive, we STRONGLY OPPOSE the bill in its current form. So long as this provision is in the bill, we cannot allow it to pass. PLEASE submit testimony making this point clear. Click here to submit testimony, and click here for some talking points.
- HCR74 / HR51: This is a resolution that convenes a task force to propose legislation on dispensaries. As you may recall from the website, there are two resolutions that are very similar to create this task force. This resolution is somewhat better because it includes a "sunrise review" which is where the auditor reviews any new regulations on previously unregulated professions. This is a technical requirement, and it will save time after a dispensary bill is passed if we have already done this sunrise review. Click here to submit testimony. Click here for some talking points.
Again, both of these are happening at the same hearing on Wednesday the 19th at 8:30AM in Conference room 329. Here is the hearing notice. We really need your voice to encourage our lawmakers to make these changes.
As always, mahalo for your strength and your support.
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Aloha everyone, March 18, 2014
I wanted to update people on a couple of points regarding the bills and resolutions.
- In the Senate Committee on Health today, HB2092 had its hearing. Thank you everyone who submitted testimony, and who has supported this bill. Unfortunately, in the Senate Health Committee, the language of the BAD bill, SB2574, was substituted for the language of this bill. This means that right now, both bills have the terrible definition of primary care physician that I explained in a previous email (It defines a primary care physician as the physician that has been designated as a primary care physician to the patient's insurance provider, which would exclude many patients from the program). The chair of the Health Committee said in the hearing that he had looked at the language and was sure that it wouldn't actually be a problem. This is not true. It will be a problem.
The next step is that SB2574 is being heard on Wednesday morning as I said in my previous email. It is CRITICAL that we all submit testimony asking that this definition be removed from that version of the bill. We need everyone's support to make it clear that this definition is UNACCEPTABLE. Please, if you have not yet submitted testimony on SB2574, click here and do so.
- In my last email, regarding the Resolutions HCR 74 and HR 51, I made a somewhat misleading statement. These resolutions only call for a "sunrise review" of regulations on a dispensary system. The task force is actually created by a different resolution, either HCR 48 or HR 29. Still, both resolutions support the establishment of a dispensary system, and as such are to be strongly encouraged.
Mahalo for your time,
The Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawai‘i (MCCHI) is a non-partisan, non-profit, independent advocate for patients, caregivers and physicians. For more information, visit us online at mcchi.org or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.