Is Hawaii Ready for Marijuana Dispensaries?

Is Hawaii Ready for Marijuana Dispensaries?



So the question is? If the sky isn’t falling in the 20 other states with marijuana dispensaries, why would it in Hawaii???

In Hawaii recreational cannabis is probably still at least a few years away. Medical Use of Marijuana, however, first became legal all the way back in 2000, but there is still no place to legally buy it. The only legal option is to grow your own or designate a single grower who can only grow for one person. According to the Drug Policy Forum Hawaii’s recent survey 85% of Hawaiian residents are in support of a dispensary system.

So what is a dispensary system like? Having previously worked professionally in the Oregon and Washington medical marijuana community I noticed tremendous benefits to patients in places embracing legal and quasi-legal dispensaries. Dispensaries antidote most of the problems associated with cannabis use for medical reasons. Safe access with real labeling is the most obvious benefit. Addressing the variability of the plant and its forms (edible, topical, vapor, sublingual spray, concentrate) however, opens up a whole new world. A world with specificity of medical effect and avoidance of unwanted side effects.  Having interviewed many thousands of patients I can say with conviction that addressing this variability is the biggest practical problem for rational use. When cannabis is analyzed (or even expertly evaluated) for: cannabinoid profile, concentration of THC and strain dominance (Sativa % vs Indica %), then patients have much more control over their experience and medical result. By far most of the negative stereotyping of cannabis use can be attributed to people overusing varieties of it that are very sedating. You don’t have to blunder around in a stupor to gain medical benefit from the cannabis plant. Varieties of cannabis really do exist that will let you feel and function normally while taking away or reducing medical symptoms. Unfortunately with the long history of prohibition, the high THC varieties are what has been bred for many decades. Fortunately new varieties that are specific to medical conditions and with low levels of euphoria have already been bred. Take a look at what has already been established at Leafly  and CGRI .     Where do you find these in Hawaii?

Some Good News!

While the Hawaii State Senate has repeatedly passed progressive cannabis reform legislation, the House usually fails to even bring it to vote. The House has finally taken a great step and designated a task force for a marijuana dispensary system! This Taskforce is administered by the University of Hawaii College of Social Sciences Public Policy Center and consists of 21 members with diverse political and social backgrounds. They have been having monthly meetings since June and they are working very hard to form recommendations and possibly a Bill by Jan, 2015.

The Hawaii State Legislative Reference Bureau just published an 85 page report, for the task force, that has many detailed tables comparing the web of similarities and differences among all the States with dispensaries.  This is currently very up to date info.

The Taskforce has already taken public testimony in Honolulu and Hilo. They are now zeroing in on specifics to make final recommendations to the legislature.  Areas of interest include:

Appropriate number and location of dispensaries and grow-sites statewide
Transportation of cannabis
Structure; government run, non-profit, profit
Tax structure
Cultivation quality, testing and supply
Safety and security
Administration and regulation
Education and training
Federal interface

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Forece (HCR 48)
Here is their open to the public meeting schedule .
All meetings are 9-11am State Capitol RM 325 Honolulu. The Taskforce’s final report is due in Jan , 2015.

The last two meetings are scheduled for Nov 18 & Dec 16.

The task force web site: Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary Task Force (HCR 48)

Justin Henderson, MSN


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