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Hawaii MMJ Patients Instructed to "Voluntarily Surrender" Firearms to Honolulu Police Department


Medical-marijuana cardholders have thirty days to “voluntarily surrender” their firearms, according to a letter sent by the Honolulu Police Department to MMJ patients last month.

Currently, Hawaii’s state statutes include any person who is “prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law” from firearms ownership under state law as well, and federal law flatly prohibits marijuana users from owning or possessing firearms, even in states where marijuana is legal. In addition, once an owner is disqualified, the state may legally seize firearms that are not surrendered within the allotted time.


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While twenty-nine other states allow for the use of medical marijuana, Hawaii is the first to implement a sweeping “weapons policy” against medical-marijuana cardholders. Because the state has both a database of registered medical-marijuana users and of firearms purchasers, it has the informational resources it needs to determine who is both and enforce the firearms laws accordingly.

The letter also informed MMJ patients that clearance from a medical doctor would be required for any future firearms applications or for the return of their firearms from Honolulu Police Department evidence. However, because the state law adheres to federal firearms laws, it’s unclear what such “clearance” would entail, as even a doctor’s letter sanctioning medicinal cannabis use would not waive away a federal-law violation.

While it’s possible that the state legislature could amend the statute to include an exception for state-registered MMJ cardholders, such ratification would have to undergo the lengthy legislative process before becoming law – a fact that doesn’t provide much solace to MMJ patients currently facing the thirty-day deadline.

Cantafio & Song PLLC has experienced Cannabis counsel in Hawaii to provide a free consultation as needed.

Charles Feldmann is the Managing Partner of Cantafio & Song PLLC and advises clients in the cannabis industry across a multitude of states and internationally. Contact him at