Maui News

Bills Advance on Rat Lungworm, Medical Marijuana

April 6, 2017, 3:40 PM HST
* Updated April 6, 3:45 PM
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The House today passed 64 Senate bills as the 2017 Legislative Session winds down.

With about a month left in the calendar, the measures now head back to the Senate for further consideration. The majority of the bills will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

UH CTAHR educational document with images of Rat Lungworm intermediate and paratenic hosts. Top left photo: Semi-slug (PC: Ken Hayes); Middle left image: Juvenile semi-slub (PC: Chris Jacobson); Top right: Giant African snails and damage from their feeding (PC: Scot Nelson); Bottom left: Apple Snail (PC: Ken Hayes); and bottom right: Cuban slug (PC: Robert Cowie)

Rat Lungworm Disease: SB 272 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo for programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease.  The legislature finds that the department of health has reported over 70 cases of rat lungworm disease caused by Angiostrongylus cantonensis from 2001 to 2014. According to the legislation, there have been many more cases in 2015, including at least two on Maui.

Lawmakers say the disease has claimed lives and caused crippling chronic disability.  The cost of treatment for one severe case, lawmakers say, can exceed $1,000,000.


The Hawaiʻi Island rat lungworm disease working group was formed at the Daniel K. Inouye college of pharmacy at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and has been conducting research and educational outreach on the disease for the past four years.


Backers of the bill are seeking appropriate funds for additional programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease.

Photo courtesy Hawai’i Police Department.

Medical Marijuana: SB 174 SD2 HD2 amends the definition of debilitating medical condition to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis as conditions that qualify for the legal use of medical marijuana.

Hawaiʻi’s medical use of marijuana law was enacted on June 14, 2000, as Act 228, Session Laws of Hawaiʻi 2000, to provide medical relief for seriously ill individuals in the State. The legislature finds that since the passage of Act 228, only one additional medical condition, post-traumatic stress disorder, has been added to the statutory list of conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana, despite what they call “a growing body of sufficient medical and anecdotal evidence to support the proposition that many other conditions respond favorably to such treatment.”


Criminal Trespass: SB 895 SD1 HD 2 establishes the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. It also amends the offenses of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property.

Coral Reefs Preservation: SB 1150 SD2 HD3 appropriates funds and requires the University of Hawaii to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature.

Birth Control: SB 513 SD1 HD2 authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements.

Student Meals: SB 423 SD1 HD1 prohibits public schools from denying a student a meal solely for the failure to pay.

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