Hawaii delays announcing its marijuana dispensary licensees until April 29th.
Hawaii’s dispensary license selection panel has experienced unexpected delays as one of the five panel members is unable to continue to participate in the selection process, and his scoring will not be included.
Peggy Leong, Supervisor of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensing Program explained, “It has just recently come to my attention that Dr. John Fisher, through no fault on his part, was not able to continue with his review. I’m not at liberty to share more details, in the interest of Dr. Fisher’s privacy. We thank him for his time and assistance to date and wish him well.”
The review and selection of the applicants will continue with just the remaining four panel members. “We believe the review will be sufficiently rigorous with the remaining four members of the panel,” said Director of Health, Dr. Virginia Pressler.
The Department has also encountered additional delays related to the required fingerprinting and background checks of all dispensary applicants. This has resulted in applicants rushing to submit their fingerprints and relevant documents in time.
“The applicants have been very responsive and a majority of applicants were able to submit their fingerprints and consents by Tuesday,” according to Peggy Leong, “A small number of applicants are traveling abroad and unable to respond as quickly as we had hoped. In addition, it also came to our attention that many business entities, such as limited liability corporations, corporations and trusts failed to submit the consents and fingerprints of the individuals involved in the entities. The department sent an email to all applicants clarifying the requirements of who is subject to a background check.”
Leong added, “given the situation, and in order to provide all applicants a fair opportunity to comply with the statutory requirements, we may not be able to obtain and review the remaining information until the last week of April.”
Director of Health Dr. Virginia Pressler said, “We have requested that applicants submit the remaining consents and fingerprints no later than April 25 and we will be pushing hard to complete our review and announce the licensees by Friday, April 29. While we regret the delay, we believe the priority is to do this the right way, and that includes being fair to the
applicants by providing this additional time.”
The medical marijuana dispensary law, allows the Hawaii DOH to award a total of eight licenses initially: three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail-dispensing locations.