Hawaii Dispensary Facing Problems Before Opening
Dispensaries are getting closer to the day that they will be allowed to open for operation. However, business owners could be facing challenges unlike other states.
Beginning July 15th, dispensaries will be allowed to open but the fact that the state of Hawaii is actually a cluster of islands, inter-island transporting presents a problem. The rules and regulations have not been set for Hawaii cannabis transporting between islands and it has not been determined how many growers will be allowed in the state. Also, a lack of labs to test cannabis plants is presenting a problem for state lawmakers.
Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily, stated, "Hawaii is going to be a really interesting market in general, basically because of the geography. First, it's a chain of islands separated by bodies of water, and second, it's remote."
Hawaii has passed a law that will grant eight licenses to marijuana business that will each be allowed to have two production centers and two dispensaries. Currently, the Hawaii Department of Health is reviewing dispensary applications with intentions of awarding licenses in April. Unfortunately, the law has banned inter-island transport which is expected to separate the industry into distinct economies on each island. It is also likely to lead to marijuana shortages.
Dispensaries will also be prohibited from selling cannabis until it is lab tested and at this point, there are none in Hawaii. "Clearly, not every island can support a full-on laboratory," said Pam Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group. As a result, lawmakers are considering whether or not to allow inter-island transportation.