Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: H.B. No. 673

H.D. 2

S.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirtieth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2019

State of Hawaii




Your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 673, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, entitled:




beg leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


(1) Provide a process for the voluntary or involuntary sale or transfer of an individual dispensary license;


(2) Prohibit an employer from discriminating against a person in hiring, termination, or conditions of employment based on the person's status as a qualifying patient and from taking action against an employee based solely on the employee's status as a qualifying patient or if the results of the employee's drug test are positive for cannabis, subject to certain exceptions; and


(3) Specify permissible and impermissible actions by employers and employees.


Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, Hawaii Society of Naturopathic Physicians, Hawaii Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, MediSpa Maui, and eighteen individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Maui Police Department, Kauai Community Health Alliance, and six individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Department of Health, Department of the Attorney General, Akamai Cannabis Clinic, and one individual.


Your Committees find that medical cannabis dispensaries are vital to ensuring medical cannabis patients have adequate access to medical cannabis. Your Committees further find that there may be situations where the leadership within a licensed dispensary has changed; however, existing law does not provide a process for the sale or transfer of any significant interest in a licensed dispensary.


Your Committees additionally find that although the medical use of cannabis by a qualifying patient to alleviate the symptoms or effects of the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition is permitted under state law, there are no corresponding employment protections for qualifying patients. A qualifying patient can therefore be discriminated against in the hiring process, merely because of the patient's status as a qualifying patient, or fired at an employer's discretion for failing a drug test, even if the qualifying patient is not exhibiting any symptoms of being impaired.


This measure clarifies the procedure for the sale or transfer of significant interests in a licensed dispensary in certain situations and provides employment protections for qualifying medical cannabis patients.


Your Committees have amended this measure by:


(1) Clarifying that in the event of death, legal incapacity, or permanent disability of an individual dispensary licensee, the entity licensee must provide a plan for the sale or transfer of the license to the Department of Health within thirty days of notifying the Department of the licensee's inability to continue in the individual's capacity as a licensee;


(2) Removing specific situations in which an employee who is a qualifying patient and who fails a drug test may be disciplined;


(3) Requiring that an employee be impaired before an employer may discipline the employee rather than allowing disciplinary action based on the employer's reasonable belief that an employee is impaired;


(4) Clarifying the definition of "impaired";


(5) Simplifying third party causes of action arising from the actions of impaired employees and limiting claims to situations in which the employee was impaired and the employer knew or should have known;


(6) Inserting an effective date of March 15, 2094, to encourage further discussion; and


(7) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 673, H.D. 2, S.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 673, H.D. 2, S.D. 2.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means,