Growing Medical Marijuana in Hawaii
Learn how to grow marijuana all year round in Hawaii. Get your 329 card, build a grow site and start plants at the right time.
Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program allows registered patients to grow up to ten plants at the patient or caregiver’s residence and 4 oz. of usable cannabis jointly.
Get Medical Marijuana Card Hawaii (329 Card)
First step is to get your State of Hawaii 329 Medical Cannabis registration card.
The process is fairly simple:
1. Find a local medical marijuana physician. You can search Google Maps for MMJ doctors nearby. If you are on the Big Island or Kauai, Hawaii Compassionate Care is a good choice.
2. Schedule an appointment to get diagnosed. To qualify as a patient, you must have an eligible debilitating medical condition .
3. Fill out the forms. As of 2016, all applications must be submitted online at eHawaii.gov . There is a non-refundable $38.50 registration fee.
4. Submit and wait. Since 2019, an electronic registration card is provided, eliminating the wait time for a hard copy 329 card by mail.
Where to Grow Medical Marijuana in Hawaii?
The single grow site must be designated with DOH when registering or by notification of change—the address needs to appear on your 329 card.
Both indoor and outdoor cultivation is done every month of the year in Hawaii.
For indoor cultivation methods, see Reddit’s r/microgrowery and our DIY Hydroponic Setup Guide for inspiration.
For outdoor growing, you’ll want an area with plenty of sunlight, access to water and ideally, a light breeze. If the site is grown in with invasive species , consider clearing them out.
Depending on where you are in Hawaii, there may be soil to amend and grow in. Otherwise, you can buy potting mix or blend your own. Something similar to a True Living Organics mix may be reused for multiple grows.
A simple greenhouse built with PVC and clear plastic can help protect your buds from the rain. However, it will bring gray mold and powdery mildew problems without enough airflow. To solve this, keep parts of the greenhouse open, use fans or install a full ventilation system.
Nutrients are important for growing healthy plants. Hawaii’s soils are often low in Nitrogen and Calcium. Learn a few tricks to save money on nutrients from our marijuana fertilizer guide .
Slugs damage cannabis plants and are even dangerous to humans due to the rat lungworm disease endemic. Clear out any brush on the ground around your grow site that could be habitat to slugs. You may consider using organic slug bait .
Once your grow site is prepared and ready to grow, it’s time to get some plants. You can start from seed, clone or use established plants.
Marijuana Seeds Hawaii
Buy marijuana seeds in Hawaii from online seed banks and local breeders.
Visit the Mold Resistant Strains homepage for a wide selection of marijuana seeds for sale, from landrace strains all the way to high yield hybrids and mold resistant outdoor strains.
Refer to this list of the Best Marijuana Seed Banks for trusted cannabis seed sellers that ship to USA, including Hawaii.
Two Hawaii-based seed breeders that I recommend are Big Island Genetics and Good Gear Seeds .
Germinating your seeds in the Hawaiian sunshine will produce varying results depending on what time of the year it is. Hawaii’s subtropical growing season is different than cold climates.
Hawaii’s Growing Seasons
Hawaii has two growing seasons, called “long season” and “short season”. Simply put, the plants grow faster in the long season and slower in the short season.
This is because cannabis reacts to seasonal changes—a trait called photoperiodism . These types of plants grow and bloom according to the light hours seen per day.
Indoor growers can manipulate this trait to control the size and life cycle of their plants. In essence, they control the seasons with grow lights.
Outdoor growers are subject to the sun’s daylight schedule as seasons change. This is why you’ll hear Hawaiian growers talk about the best time to start seeds.
The long season is the same spring-to-fall growing season that the rest of the northern hemisphere is on.
This is the best time frame to grow cannabis outdoors in Hawaii for maximum yield.
Like many other crops, cannabis plants will use spring for vegetative growth and summer/fall for blooming.
You can start seeds any time from spring to mid-summer to grow during long season.
Grow Indica Long Season
Start indica seeds and indica dominant hybrid seeds from April until July for long season growing. The lucky time for us is on the dark of the moon in May.
Indica seeds sprouted before spring might not adjust to the long season—they’ll end up finishing early in June or July. The buds don’t form as dense then as they will during late summer/fall. That’s why it’s better to start the fast flowering indicas after the sativas.
On the flip side, starting indicas too late will result in the plants blooming into winter, when yields are reduced due to low light hours.
Grow Sativa Long Season
Start sativa seeds and sativa dominant hybrid seeds as early as February until May to for long season growing. The dark of the moon in April seems to be a good time for sativa dominant hybrids.
Sativa seeds sprouted too early in the season may get old and woody (what we call “pepper pot”) by the time they are ready to harvest.
On the other hand, starting sativa strains too late could bring the plants blooming through winter and re-growing in the spring as a mess of stretchy buds.
Grow Hybrids Long Season
50/50 sativa/indica hybrids , or breeds close to that ratio, tend to grow more like an indica than a sativa. So a safe germination time frame is from March until Early June.
Long Season Harvest
Cannabis plants growing in the long season are typically ready to harvest from August to November. Each strain and phenotype reacts differently. Some long flowering sativas will even keep budding into winter, such as Thai strains. Here are two things to consider before planting:
- Everyone is going to have bud in the fall, so you can stay ahead of the flood with fast flowering strains that finish in August.
- Or, you could go big with mostly or pure sativa strains . These plants will grow larger and take longer to mature, but can yield enormously.
The short season is unique to subtropical climates. You can harvest marijuana buds throughout winter, spring and early summer.
Normally, the plants grow slower in short season.
This is because of decreased daylight hours. At under 11 hours in December it is lower than even a flowering room indoors, so starting seeds at this light cycle makes a strange predicament for the plants to decide how to grow.
Grow Indica Short Season
While they do grow fast, most pure indica and indica dominant strains don’t really get enough light hours in the winter to grow big. A lot of growers end up with what’s known as the lollipop: a stick in the ground with a single bud.
The best bet for indicas is to start seeds around late summer to fall. That way, the plants can get bigger than if they were started over the winter. As we get into December it’s really hard for the seedlings—they’ll just sit there and not grow.
Grow Sativa Short Season
Many sativa strains come from similar subtropical climates, such as South East Asia and Central America. Over generations of inbreeding, the plants have adapted to growing in short seasons and actually get big!
However, most sativas are quick to re-veg in the spring. That means all of the buds will stretch out and end up rotting on the plant. Light deprivation techniques are a solution to this. As a rule of thumb, the only time you’ll want to grow sativa strains short season is if they’ll finish before March.
Grow Hybrids Short Season
Hybrids are perhaps the most rewarding option for short season cannabis growing. Slightly sativa dominant, 60/40 strains perform well. The sativa genetics aid the plant vertically, while the indica genetics help prevent too much vegetative morphing in the spring.
Grow Lights for Perpetual Outdoor
Get the best of both worlds—use indoor grow lights on your outdoor crops. If you give the plants a total of at least 16 hours of per day, they will stay in vegetative growth status—and won’t start flowering until you take off that extra light.
This grow hack lets you control the plants just like an indoor grower does, leaving size and bloom cycle up to you.
The plants can be grown outside during the day and soak up the sunlight for free. Then before sunset (or alternatively, before sunrise), put them under grow lights for a few hours, or the whole night!
Indoor-Outdoor Grow Light Method
1. Set up a grow room or put lights outside: You can have your plants in pots and carry them into your grow room with lights, or make a dedicated greenhouse/covered outdoor area for putting grow lights over plants in the ground. Flip the lights on as sunset approaches.
2. Calculate the daylight hours and add up to 18: You can check daylight hours online at timeanddate.com/sun Then add extra light hours to it. You’ll want to be at 18–24 hours of light for fastest growth.
3. Keep on the lighting schedule daily: Interruptions may bring plant mutations and hermaphodites. Even missing one day should be avoided.
4. Induce flowering: Stop providing extra light and the plants will start their bloom cycle. You can refer to the strain’s flowering time, if listed, to estimate harvest dates.
That’s it! Now you can harvest da crip kine pakalolo (dank bud) every 30 days, 45 days, 60 days or whenever. Mark dates on your calendar to cut new clones or plant seeds, transplants, flowering and harvest.
Are LED Grow Lights worth it for Hawaii?
LED grow lights are a good option for many cannabis growers, especially here with the high price of electricity in Hawaii. LED grow lights use less electricity than standard HID grow lights, while giving off just the right type of light needed by plants to grow. The secret to these highly-efficient LED grow lights is their optimized red and blue light spectrum—frequencies most absorbed by plants.
View our list of the best LED Grow Lights this year for grow light recommendations.
Hawaii Cannabis Culture
Hawaii Cannabis Expo – A yearly event. Connect with the local cannabis community.
What are your favorite strains and methods for growing marijuana in Hawaii? Leave your comments below. Aloha!
42 thoughts on “Growing Medical Marijuana in Hawaii”
My name is Shane Ostergard. I am a licensed Medical Marijuana patient in Washington State. For over a year I have been learning how to grow cannabis. My plan for Fall was to start WWOOFing in Hawaii, This position could be a good fit for me. Thanks.
Yes, WWOOFing is a great way to open up opportunities in the Islands. Rent is killer here, so being provided that free room and board goes a long ways.
There is a HUGE community of farmers doing this on the Big Island.
This is the Minister of da sense. I have been around a long time. If you are older, you might recognize the handle from the old days on the Cannabisworld message boards. I have been cropping the cripplers for almost 30 years now. 25 of those years I have been growing in Hawaii. I lived on Maui for 17 years, but now grow on the Big Island. I have been here for 10 years now. And I have pulled off some serious cobs over the years. I have been living in the Puna district for about 7 years now. And to be honest, it’s the toughest place to pull off ripe buds because of the mold. I had never even seen mold on my plants until I got setup out here. I have had my heart broken many times due to mold, and I am at constant battle with mold. It’s a real bummer that I have had to give up many strains I grew for years. I have found that it is mostly about the strain you are growing. The best herb I have ever seen, was some that I grew out in Hawaiian Acres. A strain called the “Death”. It is almost totally immune to mold problems. And the buds are as dense and killer….so potent that even an old school fool like me would be sweating, mumbling, too stoned to accomplish much. In people with a lower tolerance, they often go into panic attack mode, some people have even gone to the ER thinking that the herb was laced. lol I figure that is why they call it the death. Although it takes about 11 weeks to finish out. Anyway, I am having to start all over again thanks to some asshole who literally robbed every thing of value on my old property, when I had to go to the mainland for a family emergency. I am currently running the “Blue Dream”, and a few other strains that turned out to be molders. So I am scrapping them and giving the Blue Dream a shot at long season. However, I lost my contact for the Death….and I am wondering (hoping is more accurate) that someone else out there has a line on the Death? I think that it is not only the best strain in Puna, but the best I have ever seen. The only strain I liked as much was the Diesel I brought from Maui. Shoots….please get at me if you’re familiar with this strain. Mahalo ?
Nice to hear from you…
This “Death” strain you are describing sounds quite similar to a variety we call “Vietnamese Black” – a sativa that will make your heart race with paranoia. An intense high comparable to mushrooms. Extremely mold resistant, and able to finish up hard and dank outside in the pouring rain.
With the 11 week flowering time, “Death” is likely a hybrid of “Vietnamese Black”, may be a local kept goodie, but check out these strains with “VB” in their genetics.
I’ll ask around the Island for this “Death” strain, as you have got me interested as well now. Stay in touch and we’ll see what we can find.
Feel you on the mold loss problems. We have dealt with the same moldy disasters many times. Being here for 30 years, I’m sure you know how trying to finish buds in humid climates can be.
I also am a big fan of Diesel. She performs well for us, hardy towards the outdoors and has yielded higher than many strains grown side-by-side. My standby cash-cropper plant.
Aloha Bruddahs, I also live in Hawaii on the Big Island but I’m located in Ookala (Mauna) at roughly 2,500 ft elevation. I am currently on my first grow but I have a big worm farm that I’m using for my beautiful gurls. Before moving to Ookala I also lived in the Puna district but in Kalapana-Kapoho. Anyway is there a place I can volunteer at to Help ( really to be a student and learn proper out door technique) grow medical marijuana? I love that growing Medical Marijuana is so Simple and so Complexed at the same time. My love for growing medical marijuana has started me growing a lot of other Froots(lol) and vegetables on my 6 acre lot here in Ookala. I can be reached VIA email @ hannichad4gmail.com
Much Love and Peace
1 Tablespoon of Vitamin C powder, ascorbic acid, in 1 gallon of water. Sprayed on Plants or Buds, eats powdery mildew. Does NOT harm Trichs or flowers. Can save yer ass.
Aloha Puamana, thanks for the input!
Is that both Vit C and ascobic acid combined or just Vit C?
Shoots, thanks for the info. It very well could be a relationship to the VB. I have only seen the Death in Puna. It’s also a very tasty strain, very skunky, but a different kind of skunky, kinda hard to explain. I forgot to mention the molokai frost, that was a great strain for Puna too. I would top em and they would finish out bushy with dense popcorn buds all over. But anyway, thanks for the reply. And if you come across the Death, LMK. And also, get it if you can. I am sure that you will be impressed. In the meantime, I am counting on the Blue Dream to come through….it sounds pretty good. I have not tried it though. Well, Shoots. Take it light Braddah. Aloha!
I have just noticed the tip for the powdery mildew. Thanks for the info. I am going to try that for sure. I am disabled, and not able to do as much as I used to….and was needing a greenhouse. And low and behold, as my Christmas present, my youngest son came out with my granddaughter for Christmas, and as a present, bought and brought all the material, and built me a greenhouse for my Christmas present. So,…this is a great help when the plants are 6 weeks into flowering, and it rains pitchforks and hammer handles for a week and a half.! It’s a big help in stopping the dreaded gray mold/bud rot. But it’s not much help with the powdery mildew. Thanks again for the tip. ? peace and prosperity to all!
1st off, most or all ascorbic acid is made from gmo corn. Not what I want on my plants!
For mold and mildew, consider a regimen of Serenade and Actinovate. Both are OMRI listed. Also neem in veg.
But of course, mold resistant strains will be the best bet!
Aloha JK. I have your books, and we met once long ago…I used to camp out near Makena at Changs back in the day. Man, I would be surprised if you hadn’t come across the Death out in Puna at some point. Have you ever been able to sample it? Just curious. Shoots. I wish a productive long season to all. Aloha ?
p.s. Dumb automatic spelling correcter thing. It supposed to say Minister of da Sinse. lol
Also I forgot to ask. I see all of these interesting strains….but it’s looking like they are all feminized. I am specifically in need of non feminized seeds. I have been breeding for years, and was forced into a temporary hiatus….but am now ready to get back into the action, and I am hitting a brick wall of feminized seeds. Looking to the future, it’s a disturbing trend.
Granddaddy Purp is regular seeds, it’s a killer quick finishing hardy indica strain. Does well inbred as well as making crosses. I crossed Granddaddy Purp with a Hawaiian Sativa and got great results. Anything by Sensi seeds you can get regular as well, I recommend Early Pearl.
Thanks-a-mundo for the post. Fantastic. Salzberg
This is a great article I learned a lot especially about mold resistant strains, thank you for sharing this and bringing me one step closer to growing my own marijuana!
Hey, thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.
Muchos Gracias for your post. Keep writing.
What is difference between indica and sativa?.
What precautions we have to take while consuming this breed?.
Is every person need is different as per his/ her physiology?
Is it hard to get a Medical Card on Oahu? If so, Where should I get one? Mahalos
Easy to obtain, especially if you have a pain related ailment. Check out Dr. David J Barton http://www.medicalmarijuanaofhawaii.org/
Do I need recent medical records?
I didn’t. All I had to do was describe my pain symptoms to the doctor, and he kindly assisted me through the rest of the process.
Great site you have here, it is always nice to see more ‘Ohana representing Hawaiian Pakalōlō.
We were directed to your site by a member of our ‘Ohana who said someone was using “puamana” as their name and commenting on your site. The comments above from user “puamana” are in no way shape or form affiliated with Pua Mana ‘Ohana or Pua Mana 1st Hawaiian Pakalōlō Seed Bank.
While spraying vitamin C, or garlic oil on your plants may dissolve some powdery mildew and mold, there is only one tried and true way to grow Pakalōlō in Hawai’i with minimal issues arising from mold due to the high humidity here on da Hawaiian islands: grow HAWAIIAN Pakalōlō strains!!
Hawaiian landrace strains such as Puna Buddaz, Maui Wowie, Moloka’i Purpz and Kaua’i Electric have spent hundreds of years acclimatizing and adapting to the unique tropical environment we have here in Hawai’i and are your best bet in ensuring a bountiful Hawaiian harvest.
When you are building a grow room indoors the 1st thing you do is create the ideal environment for your Pakalōlō plants; temp 72-78 degrees, %55 humidity at max, you also can also enrich with co2 and you control the light schedule.
When growing outdoors the exact opposite is the case; the 1st thing you do is choose the ideal Pakalōlō strain for your environment.
As anyone who has ever lived on the Puna side of da Big Island can attest, you can not even throw your clothes in a laundry basket for 3 minuets in Puna without your clothes being eaten alive by mold.
Puna Buddaz (da real Hawaiian strain, not the strain “Puna Budder” released by T.H. Seeds that is a Hawaiian x Afgan imitation under a similar name) is an amazing survivor and true legend in da Pakalōlō kingdom. She handles da tropical monsoon downpours of da Puna District on da Big Island of Hawai’i like a champ. Many Puna growers will tell you after particularly rainy seasons, Puna Buddaz is da last plant standing when many other strains have already succumb to mold issues.
Puna Buddaz is a very special lil lady and is our #1 pick for growing mold resistant strains in Hawai’i. Puna Buddaz even performs well for our mainland ‘Ohana on da west coast who have grown her in OR and CA with great results. Puna Buddaz flowers in 55-60 days amassing heavy loads of resin and trichomes, perhaps another reason she beats da mold is her fast flower time.
Our 2nd and 3rd place picks for growing mold resistant strains in Hawai’i are: Moloka’i Purpz and Kaua’i Electric.
Moloka’i Purpz gets her lovely purple hues from being cultivated high (literally) atop the tallest sea cliffs on Earth on da island of Moloka’i. She can handle cold temps and is no stranger to tropical rain.
Kaua’i Electric received her name after hanauna (generations) of cultivation by local Pakalōlō growers up Powerline Trail on da island of Kaua’i. Powerline trail is located on your way up Mt. Wai’ale’ale. Mt. Wai’ale’ale is da rainiest place on da planet Earth. Kaua’i Electric can handle whatever tropical rain is thrown her way and she will not only survive, she will thrive.
Maui Wowie cultivated in Hana Maui for hanauna (generations) is another great choice for mold resistant Hawaiian Pakalōlō genetics as Hana is da rainy side of Maui similar to da Puna side on da Big Island of Hawai’i. Maui Wowie is a Hawaiian landrace who originates from Lower Nāhiku Maui and was given her catchy name at a solstice celebration thrown by Bradda Joseph of Lower Nāhiku Maui during the 1960’s. While countless imitators have used da name Maui Wowie to peddle their Pakalōlō, true Maui Wowie can be identified by her sweet tropical taste and smell, her psychedelic mind boggling effect and her ability to resist mold and mildew in tropical climates.
Just because a strain is Hawaiian does not mean it will be mold resistant. Kona Gold is a massive Hawaiian sativa from da Kona side of da Big Island. Kona is a very dry sunny climate allowing Kona Gold to reach her massive potential. Kona Gold flowers in 10-14 weeks allowing more time for mold to set in and is not suitable for rainy tropical climate zones like Puna, but she thrives in da Hawaiian sunshine and is one of da largest most potent Hawaiian sativa strains on Earth.
Where ever you happen to be, it is always a wise call to find a Pakalōlō strain that has acclimatized to your environment. Here in Hawai’i we have a very special climate and our Pakalōlō is a direct reflection of da paradise we call home.
Keep up da good work with your site and your grow,
Learn how to grow marijuana all year round in Hawaii. Get your 329 card, build a grow site and start plants at the right time.