There are just five more months before medical cannabis outlets can be opened in Hawaii. However, business owners may still be seeing obstacles that have not been seen before in the archipelago. Dispensaries can open during the middle of July. However, industry experts state that they may be confronted with challenged that those in other states do not need to face. For instance, there are concerns over trade over the water and such. Also, there are not many labs to test crops at which is another issue state lawmakers must deal with.
“Hawaii is going to be a really interesting market in general, basically because of the geography,” Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Daily, stated. “First, it’s a chain of islands separated by bodies of water, and second, it’s remote.”
At the moment, the Hawaii Department of Health is looking at dispensary applications, and will likely begin giving out licenses in April. Woody Harrelson, an actor, and huge cannabis activist, as well Henk Rogers, a video game designer, are one of the fifty-nine residents who applied for licenses. Thanks to a law passed in 2015, Hawaii will give out eight licenses to cannabis businesses, each of which will be able to have two production centers and two dispensaries. Three licenses “will be awarded for Oahu, two for Hawaii Island, two for Maui and one for Kauai.”
The same law did not allow for inter-island trade. Cannabis activists state that this will separate the industry into unique economies on each part of the archipelago, which is unique to just Hawaii. Also, there could be cannabis shortages, and even not allow some businesses to sell cannabis until laboratories are allowed.
All medical cannabis must be examined in a laboratory approved by the state before it is distributed. However, there are none in the state of islands. Some are concerned that expensive startups and low patient numbers will not allow laboratories to be approved.
“Clearly, not every island can support a full-on laboratory,” Pam Lichty, president of the Drug Policy Action Group, stated.
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