Eleven Hawaii residents can now legally smoke marijuana to treat or alleviate severe medical conditions.
Thats the number of applications for medical marijuana that were approved by the state Department of Public Safety as of yesterday. Ten of the certificates were issued to Kauai residents and one on Oahu, said Public Safety Narcotics Division administrator Keith Kamita.
Kamita would not reveal the names of the patients or their ailments because of the states medical privacy law. He did say that 25 application requests have been turned in, with 12 pending and two denied.
Kamita said these two requests were for ailments not considered a debilitating medical condition under the law. These conditions include cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, or a condition that causes pain, nausea, seizures or other problems.
The number of applications so far has been small, Kamita said, and he did not know how many to expect. Each annual certificate costs $25.
"Probably within six months we should know a general ballpark how many people are participating," Kamita said.
The department began accepting applications Dec. 28, 10 days after Gov. Ben Cayetano approved administrative rules governing the use of marijuana for medical use. The law requires physicians to submit an application to the narcotics division, explaining why a patient wants to use marijuana.