Although it may have appeared that actor Woody Harrelson had lost his status as one of the most high-profile marijuana advocates in the United States, it was revealed over the weekend that this Natural Born Stoner plans to open up a medical marijuana business in Hawaii.
Reports indicate that the 54-year-old film star, whose business is listed with the state Department of Health under the name Simple Organic Living, was one of around 60 applicants who tossed their name into the hat for a chance to start selling weed to patients in Honolulu County. Harrelson must now wait until April to learn if his application will be one of the eight selected to legally begin selling marijuana to the state’s 14,000 patients.
While medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for over 15 years, the language of the law did not come with a provision that allowed the existence of a cannabis industry. Instead, patients who qualified for participation in the program were given the option of engaging in home cultivation or obtaining the product from a licensed caregiver. However, last year, lawmakers pushed through a measure that would finally incorporate some functionality to the program by giving way to the convenience of retail sales.
Not unlike other medical marijuana states that prevent those with shallow pockets from getting in on the ground floor of selling legal weed, Hawaii will force the selected applicants to flash their financial girth by showing they have $1 million and $100,000 for each dispensary. If Harrelson is among the chosen few, he would be permitted to open two production facilities and two retail locations, which could be fully operational in the summer. All of the dispensaries are set to open in July, according to the Associated Press.
Harrelson, who was made famous by his roles as Woody in the NBC television series Cheers and Mickey Knox in Oliver Stone’s "Natural Born Killers," became the subject of international media attention nearly 20 years ago when he was arrested in Kentucky for taking a stand against the state’s inability to distinguish the difference between hemp and marijuana.
To do this, Harrelson orchestrated a scheme in which he planted four hemp seeds in a local field, an action that got him arrested and wrapped up in court for the next four years defending against a misdemeanor possession charge. However, the case was eventually dismissed after a six-person jury refused to accept a Kentucky Supreme Court ruling against growing hemp and acquitted Harrelson of the charge. Ridiculously enough, a guilty verdict could have put the actor in prison for up to a year.
While Harrelson waits to learn whether Hawaii will allow him to plant pot seeds without fear of prosecution, one state lawmaker is working to ensure the success of the medical marijuana dispensary program with a bill that would impose a ban on home cultivation. Representative Marcus Oshiro fears that continuing to give people the freedom to grow their own weed will undermine the dispensaries. Therefore, his proposal would make it illegal for patients to engage in home cultivation and force them to only purchase cannabis products from one of the 16 state licensed dispensaries.
(Photo Courtesy of Fox News)