An official report released by Hawaii’s state auditor recommends implementing dispensaries in the state. Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000 but currently the law does not allow dispensaries and limits caregivers to grow for only one patient.
A bill was introduced in the 2014 legislative session that would permit dispensaries, but it failed to pass in the House of Representatives. The state auditor’s recent report recommends changes to House Bill 1587 and includes allowing the state’s health department to determine the total number of dispensaries and to be licensed and strictly regulated.
The report acknowledges the issues that Hawaii’s medical marijuana patients have been dealing with, such as there currently is no way to legally purchase marijuana in the state. This is forcing patients to either grow their own marijuana or turn to the black market. Dispensaries would allow for quality control methods that include gauging potency and eliminating contaminants in the marijuana sold in the state. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm,” the auditor’s report reads.
The auditor further advises that the state provide some start up money to get the dispensary program implemented. Eventually the state would establish dispensary application and licensing fees similar to other medical marijuana states.