Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii since 2000, and 15 years later, patients will soon have safe, reliable access to medication. A bill which creates Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensary licensing system became law Wednesday, July 15 at midnight, with the signature of Governor David Ige’s.
Gov. Ige reported:
“I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana.”
A deadline of January 4, 2016 has been set for the Hawaii Department of Health to organize and finalize the rules and regulations for the system. Gov. Ige has stated that the goal of Jan. 4 is “aggressive.” Ige spoke on the timeline of Act 241:
“We will make a good faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”
There has been no set pricing guidelines in the new law, but people with knowledge of the state economy have placed initial predictions between $200 and $300 per ounce.
A merit-based application process, which is expected to be very competitive, will begin in January 2016. Only eight licenses will be awarded, and each license holder will be allowed to open two dispensaries.
Registered patients will be able to buy up to eight ounces per month. Current estimations predict around 13,000 medical marijuana cardholders living in Hawaii.
The law will prohibit counties from passing zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed production centers and licensed dispensaries. It will also allow for transportation of medical marijuana legal in public places by qualified patients, caregivers, or members of the medical marijuana job landscape.