HAWAII: First to Legislate Medical Pot
Hawaii became the first state to approve the use of medical marijuana by legislation, the AP/New York Times reports. Although it is the eighth state in the country to permit its use for medical purposes, other states -- Alaska, Arizona, California, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington -- have approved medical marijuana by ballot rather than legislative measures. As he signed the bill into law, Gov. Benjamin Cayetano (D) noted that it was just "one aspect of his effort to make Hawaii the health care center of the Pacific" and that he remains confident other states will adopt similar laws. Under the Hawaii law, patients may use marijuana if they suffer from specific illnesses, receive a physician's recommendation and register with the state Department of Public Safety to avoid criminal charges of illegal possession. Approximately 500 to 1,000 Hawaiians will be eligible to use the drug (6/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.