Support Cannabis for Opioid Use Disorder

To friends and colleagues,

Aloha! We’ve got a big update to share and an ask to help us push this new momentum forward. Feel free to use my information or simply submit your own comments. All testimony must be received no later than October 15, 2019 at 4:30 p.m to be considered.

The past three years of working with thousands of patients has made the priorities and top concerns for our community crystal clear — and we all know that Hawaii has not been spared from the ravaging fallout of the Opioid Crisis.

It is also established medical cannabis can help patients decrease or completely eliminate the use of opiates for pain management — and our goal to make this official in the State of Hawaii meant petitioning the Department of Health to add Opiate Dependence and Withdrawal as a qualifying condition. We submitted the petition in February 2019.

We NEED YOUR HELP for the next and final step! Please contact the DOH with your testimony.

Department of Health
State of Hawai’i
Medical Cannabis Program
4348 Waialae Avenue, #648
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

October 8, 2019

RE: Petition to Include Opiate Use Disorder in Qualifying Conditions

Aloha DOH Medical Cannabis Program:

Thank you for considering the needs of many state residents who suffer opioid addiction and withdrawal challenges. I am a certified CARS specialist: Community Addictions Recovery Specialist.


The University of New Mexico School of Medicine trained me on opioid addiction and pain management. In 2017 New Mexico had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths west of Tennessee, at 24.8 per 100,000 people.

In 2017, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, almost 68% involved a prescription or illicit opioid.

No American has ever died from overdose of medical cannabis. Had the 70,000+ patients been using cannabis, they would be alive today.


New Mexico has been at the forefront of the U.S. opioid and drug overdose epidemic. The state authorized the use of medical cannabis this year (2019) to reduce suffering from opioid drug use and addiction.

The New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted 4-0 to recommend the addition of opioid use disorder to the list of qualifying conditions for access to medical marijuana. First-year Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, former state health secretary, pledged to open up the medical cannabis program to people struggling with opioid use and addiction — after the previous Republican administration rejected petitions for the change.

Medical Cannabis is a “harm-reduction” tool. We move addicted and struggling patients away from the edge of death to a place where we have more room to delve deep into their struggle.


Please give us these tools. I know one thing for certain: Had the 70,000+ people who died in 2017 due to drug overdose been using medical cannabis, they would be alive today. We can’t assist suffering people if they are dead. Please give us a chance when they are alive.

Thank you for both your compassion and wisdom. Please feel free to contact me by phone or email.

Thank you for your testimony.

Thank you,

Tami Iida Whitney
Program Coordinator, MBA
Medical Cannabis Registry Program
State of Hawaii, Department of Health

Please be advised that patients and caregivers are not authorized for the medical use of cannabis until such time that they receive their 329 registration card from the Department of Health, Medical Cannabis Program and they must keep both their valid ID and valid 329 card on them whenever they are in possession of medical cannabis.

Click Here For Information about Medical Cannabis in Hawaii

4348 Waialae Avenue, #648
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816

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Ko’olau of Kaua’i. I am the Defiant One
“I Believe We Can”

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