Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 1291

S.D. 1




Honorable Donna Mercado Kim

President of the Senate

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Health, to which was referred S.B. No. 1291 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to prohibit an employer from disciplining, suspending, discharging, or discriminating against an employee who is a patient qualified to use medical marijuana solely because the employee tested positive for marijuana use in a substance abuse test.


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission; Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii; Drug Policy Action Group; Alternative Pain Management Puuhonua, LLC; Hawaii Cannabis Care; Green Futures; NuWayve Unlimited; and twenty-three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the City and County of Honolulu Department of Human Resources, Honolulu Police Department, County of Hawaii Police Department, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Society for Human Resource Management Hawaii, Hawaiian Electric Company, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Health, Department of the Attorney General, Hawaii Family Forum, Hawaii Catholic Conference, and one individual.


Your Committee finds that some civil protections are necessary to protect registered medical marijuana patients from employment ramifications based solely upon a positive test for marijuana use. Because the State has endorsed marijuana as a legitimate medical treatment, it follows that the State would also provide protection for those who require such treatment, not only from criminal consequences, but from civil consequences as well. This measure does not prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee who is a registered medical marijuana patient and whose work suffers, who is intoxicated on the job, or who fails to fulfill employment duties.


Your Committee further finds that there are concerns regarding registered medical marijuana patients who are federal employees or are working on federal contracts with drug-free workplace policies. The obvious conflict between the federal law's strict prohibitions against marijuana and Hawaii's law authorizing the use of medical marijuana, as enhanced by this measure, may leave federal employees who are registered medical marijuana patients in a precarious situation.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2050, to encourage further discussion; and


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


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Health that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1291, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1291, S.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Judiciary and Labor.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Health,