Select Page
House Passes Bill to Establish Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Hawaii

House Passes Bill to Establish Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Hawaii

Early in 2015, Hawaii State Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee chairperson, announced plans to introduce legislation that would allow for medical marijuana dispensaries to be established in the Aloha State by 2017.

On February 17, HB 321, was approved by the House Committees on Health and Judiciary. It will now move to the House Committee on Finance for approval.

Lawmakers in Hawaii made history in 2000 as the first legislative body to legalize medical marijuana. Under current law, the 13,000 registered medical marijuana patients are permitted to cultivate at home, but many of them are too sick to grow their own medicine. Therefore, they are forced to acquire strains on the black market. After 15 years of legalized medical marijuana, patients in Hawaii still do not have safe, reliable access to medical marijuana.

Michelle Tippens (photo below) is one of Hawaii’s registered medical marijuana patients. Tippens was injured in a car accident, leaving her with a brain injury and multiple fractures in her spine.

medical marijuana hb321 hawaii

Tippens appeared at the committee meeting to share her story and show support as an example of why medical marijuana patients in Hawaii need distribution facilities. She explained that she was on more than one dozen different pharmaceutical medications after the tragic accident. Medical marijuana allowed her to quite taking the debilitating pills. She wore the bottles around her neck to make a statement.

Tippens told The State,

“In order to qualify for the card, you have to be really sick. And a lot of people who are really sick are not capable of cultivating marijuana.”

House Bill 321 would establish a system for regulating and licensing a total of 26 medical marijuana dispensaries. The bill states that any distribution facility must be located a minimum of 700 feet from schools, playgrounds and public housing. It also implements a seed-to-sale tracking system for all cannabis sold through a dispensary. It still permits patients to cultivate their own plants at home.

Opponents to the bill, like Rep. Bob McDermott (R-Ewa), are fearful that legalizing medical marijuana dispensaries may encourage use by young people, and lead to recreational legalization. However, the 2014 Harvard Public Opinion Project already proved that legalization is not encouraging use.

A similar Senate Bill proposal is also expected to have a joint committee hearing this week.

Find out how to become a registered medical marijuana patient in Hawaii here.

photo credit: marijuanagrowershq, the state

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Expected in Hawaii by 2017

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Expected in Hawaii by 2017

Hawaii was among the first ten of the United States to legalize cannabis for medical use in 2000. The Aloha State’s medical marijuana bill was the first to be passed legislatively, and now, nearly fifteen years later, legislation is being drafted that will establish a system to license and regulate medical marijuana cultivators and retailers.

Currently, there are more than 13,000 registered medical marijuana patients in Hawaii. Aside from cultivating at home, these patients do not have safe, reliable access to medicine. State Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee chairperson, is leading the Medical Marijuana Task Force responsible for the new legislation. The bill is expected to be filed when the state legislature reconvenes in late January 2015.

The medical marijuana dispensary proposal is expected to establish the Department of Health as the regulatory body in charge of determining the ideal number of retailer licenses. Each county would be home to at least one dispensary, with the ideal ratio being 1 retailer per 500 registered patients. Dispensary license applications would cost $20,000 with $2,000 of that being a non-refundable deposit. License renewal fees would total $30,000 each year.

This bill will also establish a licensing and regulatory system for up to 30 cannabis cultivators and production facilities. It would allow each producer to cultivate up to 1,000 plants.

The Medical Marijuana Task Force is requesting that $510,000 of the state’s General Fund be allocated to establish this program with the funds to be paid back once application and licensing fees have been collected. This also expects that the licensing process will begin no later than January 2017, so that dispensaries could potentially open doors of operation by July 2017.

Establishing a system to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii will not only allow patients safe access to medicine, it will also stimulate local economies and introduce new jobs.

Find out how to become a registered medical marijuana patient in Hawaii here.


photo credit: nbcmiami

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet_bg']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']
[data-image-id='gourmet']