Harrelson has a long history as a cannabis advocate. For 13 years, he has participated in the advisory board for NORML, an advocacy group supporting cannabis legalization.
To meet Hawaii’s application requirements, Harrelson had to show that he possesses $1 million in cash plus $100,000 per dispensary. He also had to prove that he has been legally residing in the Aloha State for five years or more.
Although Hawaii legalized medical marijuana more than 15 years ago, the state has not provided a legal way for program participants to obtain it. Only last April did the state introduce legislation to legalize a retail market. While 66 applications were submitted to The Hawaii State Department of Health, the state will only issue a total of 16 dispensary licenses.
In addition, Hawaii offers tax breaks by rewarding businesses who operate in financially depressed areas, but lawmakers are scrambling to close this loophole to dispensary owners.
“We need to fix this,”
said Rep. Della Au Bellati in an interview with The Associated Press. “We need those general funds, because this program is going to take resources.”