Fifteen years after Hawaii legalized medical marijuana, Governor David Ige signed the state’s medical marijuana dispensary bill into law, which will allow eight dispensaries to begin selling medical marijuana by November 2016.
Until now, Hawaii’s 13,000 licensed patients had to grow their own pot or buy it on the black market.
Gov. David Ige also signed an accompanying bill that bans discrimination against medical marijuana patients.
The new law prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and production centers. It also allows for the legal transport of medical marijuana in any public place, under certain conditions by qualified patients, primary caregivers or owners/employees of medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries.
“I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana,” said Governor Ige, as reported in MauiNow.
“The bill sets a timeline,” Ige said in a statement. “We will make a good-faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”
The American Civil Liberties Union was among the groups that had advocated for the bill’s passage. The ACLU praised Governor Ige and the Medical Cannabis Coalition of Hawaii, Executive Director Carl Bergquist who called the legislative progress on the matter a “diligent effort.”
The state’s Department of Health will develop administrative rules, including licensing application criteria and regulations, for a medical marijuana dispensary system. Applications will be accepted beginning early next year.