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Report: Hawaii Should Legalize Dispensaries

Mark Miller

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A comprehensive report released by Hawaii’s state auditor recommends implementing dispensaries in the Aloha State. The Hawaii legislature legalized medical marijuana in 2000 but the current law does not permit dispensaries and limits caregivers to serving only one patient.

A bill that would allow dispensaries was introduced in the 2014 legislative session but failed to pass the House of Representatives. The state auditor’s report recommends changes to House Bill No 1587, including allowing the health department to determine the total number of dispensaries.

Additionally, the report calls for potential dispensaries to be licensed and strictly regulated.

The report acknowledges the dilemma that Hawaii’s pot patients have been dealing with. There is currently no way to legally buy cannabis in the state. Because of this, patients must either grow their own pot or turn to the black market to obtain their medicine. Dispensaries would allow for proper quality control – including gauging potency and eliminating contaminants. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm,” the report reads.

The auditor also advises that the state provide sufficient start up money – roughly $400,000 – to get the program running, with the eventual goal of covering the program’s operational costs by establishing dispensary application and licensing fees similar to other medical pot states.

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