Hawaii’s marijuana businesses hold their breath.
Potential Hawaii dispensary owners are anxiously waiting to see who will be awarded the states medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Applications were received from a variety of pot shop hopefuls including, entrepreneurs, doctors, attorneys, and even celebrities such as actor and marijuana activist Woody Harrelson.
The Hawaii Department of Health has released a list of the applicants who submitted applications for Hawaii marijuana dispensary licenses. The dispensary bill, Act 241, which was adopted earlier this year, authorizes the state Department of Health to issue up to eight dispensary licenses initially and more in the future as needed. Learn more about the Hawaii marijuana dispensary bill.
Each approved licensee will be allowed to operate two marijuana dispensaries and two growing production sites. According to the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii the dispensary system is expected to create at least 800 new jobs. Preview Hawaii’s marijuana dispensaries.
So far Hawaii’s new marijuana dispensary system is being viewed as fairly restrictive as it will only approve eight licenses which are expected to be awarded by April 15. Each applicant was required to have at least $1 million dollars in the bank at the time of submitting their application in order to be considered as well as an additional $100,000 for each separate dispensary location they hope to operate. The applicant hopefuls were required to be Hawaii residents for at least five years and any controlling business entities have to be majority owned by Hawaii residents.
The approved license holders will be able to operate two cultivation sites and two dispensary locations. Other retail locations cannot be in the same location as a medical marijuana production site and each facility is limited to growing a maximum of 3,000 plants. Additionally Hawaii’s medicinal cannabis will have to be grown indoors and on land where agricultural production is already approved, provided that it is not located near any schools, playgrounds, or public housing projects.
Dispensary owner’s marijuana cultivation sites will only be allowed to operate at secured indoor locations. Security measure such as fences, zero visibility from the outside, and video surveillance will be required. This has led to the question if the use of greenhouses will be allowed in order to take advantage of Hawaii’s plentiful and abundant year-round sun to help cut down on electric costs. Hawaii has the highest cost of electricity in the nation, ranking at more than double the national average.
Hawaii dispensaries will also be restricted from selling any paraphernalia, including products such as rolling papers, vaping devices, and even joints. According to the state Department of Health this is inline with Hawaii’s smoke free health initiative. Although currently edibles will not be allowed, despite edibles having proven to be a major part of other state’s marijuana revenues and generally viewed as a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis.
Advertising by Hawaii dispensaries is strictly prohibited in an effort to minimize interaction with minors, however dispensaries will be allowed to maintain a website. One of the biggest issues facing Hawaii dispensaries is the transportation of Hawaii’s medical marijuana products around the state. Hawaii dispensaries are prohibited from transporting their products from one Hawaiian island to another, raising concerns that this could hinder the ability for the state’s marijuana businesses to create statewide brand awareness as well as has the potential to cause marijuana shortages. Which could be especially true on the smaller outer islands.