A legislative task force in Hawaii recommended last week that the state medical marijuana program should be expanded to include a system for dispensaries. Currently, Hawaii is one of the few states that has legalized medical marijuana but does not have a regulated system for dispensing the product.
The task force included a list of specific recommendations for getting the dispensary system up and running. Democratic Rep. Della Au Belatti of Oahu, who headed the task force, explained, “The recommendations are really just a starting point, some… will be taken up and some of them won’t.”
The program recommendations call for at least one dispensary in each county, and that general dispensary licensing should be addressed at a ratio of 500 patients per 1 dispensary. The task force also suggested that the application for a dispensary license should be $20,000 — with $18,000 being refunded to applicants who are not chosen — and that the annual license renewal for a dispensary should be $30,000. The licenses for producers would cost less, but get more expensive based on how many plants the licensee plans to be growing. The recommendations also include restrictions on marijuana dispensary and cultivation sites’ proximity to schools.
Additionally, Hawaii’s unique island status creates an interesting scenario for the discussion of medical marijuana, as it’s the only place where the transportation of medicine — via boat or plane — is an important consideration for the program as it moves toward a regulated, dispensary market. The task force suggested that the Department of Health set up security requirements for the transportation of medicine between the state’s many islands.
The first wave of licenses would be released January 1, 2017.
MMJ was legalized in Hawaii in 2000 as a treatment for the following conditions: cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe pain, severe nausea, and seizures.
Photo Credit: Floyd Manzano
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