Hawaii medical marijuana dispensaries are on the way.
Lets take a quick look at the history of medical marijuana in Hawaii and a breakdown of what we know so far regarding how Hawaii marijuana dispensaries will look and operate once they open their doors for business.
Hawaii was one of the the first states to legalize medical marijuana and it has been legal in Hawaii since the year 2000. However access to medical legal marijuana remained a major challenge. Up until now the estimated 13,000 qualifying patients throughout the state could only legally grow their own marijuana plants. The goal of the new dispensary licensure program is to make medicinal products readily available for registered patients while balancing the health and safety of patients and the public.
Currently in order to be able to purchase medical marijuana from a Hawaii dispensary you will need to be a resident of Hawaii and have a prescription Hawaii Medical Marijuana Card, also known as a 329 card. Although Hawaii does not currently recognize medical marijuana certifications from other states, Hawaii’s lawmakers have been discussing so called Reciprocity Agreements with other states. This could mean if you have a medical marijuana certification from another state you will be able to purchase marijuana in Hawaii dispensaries as well– anticipated as early as 2018. Find out about Hawaii Medical Marijuana Regulations.
Act 241 was signed into law in July 2015 and became Chapter 329D, HRS. The Hawaii Department of Health will begin administering the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program in 2016 and dispensaries may begin to dispense medical marijuana and manufactured medical marijuana products as early as July 2016.
The Hawaii Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance will oversee the dispensary licensure program to monitor the quality of the marijuana products utilizing a seed to sale software tracking system. This includes statewide oversight of the laboratories that test the safety and quality of the marijuana and manufactured marijuana products, and monitoring of the dispensaries who will grow, manufacture, and sell marijuana products.
Under the new law, a total of eight licenses (16 dispensary locations) may be awarded. Three licenses may be issued 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 stations for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensaries statewide. Each production center will be allowed to have up to 3,000 marijuana plants.
The Hawaii Department of Health is currently in the process of reviewing dispensary applications and plans to award licenses in April, 2016.
Although there is still much that remains unclear moving forward, most notably transportation and lab testing issues, advocates of medical marijuana have hailed Hawaii’s new dispensary program as a major breakthrough. For more information take an in-depth look at Hawaii marijuana dispensary regulations.