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Hawaii has had medical marijuana legislation in place since 2000. Originally, Hawaiian state law allowed medical marijuana cardholders to cultivate their own marijuana or appoint a caretaker to do so – there was no legal market or dispensary system in effect.
This began to change in 2015, with the passing of legislation creating a framework for the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. The first medical cannabis dispensary in Hawaii opened its doors in 2017. Recreational use remains illegal.
Yes. While Hawaiian medical marijuana patients can still grow and consume their own marijuana under certain parameters, dispensary owners must apply for a license before selling cannabis products to registered medical marijuana cardholders.
The Hawaii State Department of Health administers both medical cannabis patient licenses and cannabis dispensary licenses. It only accepts applications for new dispensaries during specific enrollment periods.
New dispensaries cannot apply for licensing outside of specific enrollment periods. As of 2019, the state of Hawaii is home to eight licensed cannabis dispensaries and has announced no plans to grant more licenses in the near future. Prospective cannabis entrepreneurs will have to consider acquiring one of an already-licensed dispensary.
Individual applicants must be five-consecutive-year Hawaii residents of at least 21 years of age, and the organization they represent must be at least 51% Hawaiian-resident owned. Licensees must have financial resources of at least $1 million, plus $100,000 for every location applied for.
Hawaiian medical marijuana dispensaries must pay a $5,000 fee when submitting their application. The state does not refund this application fee to applicants that don’t get approved.
Yes. Dispensaries must pay an additional $50,000 fee every year to renew their cannabis dispensary license.
Hawaii offers a single license type to medical marijuana dispensary owners. This license type allows dispensaries to cultivate, transport, and sell marijuana in accordance with the state’s seed-to-sale batch tracking and security regulations.
Hawaii’s initial round of medical cannabis licensing was delayed for more than a year due to the unavailability of a certified independent testing laboratory on the islands. Should the state decide to open a new enrollment period, licensing is likely to go much smoother.
Probably. While recreational marijuana remains illegal in Hawaii, there is a significant and growing movement to legalize it. When this happens, it is likely that current and out-of-state dispensary owners will be in a privileged position to open a new cannabis dispensary in Hawaii.
Hawaii forbids medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within 750 feet of schools, public housing projects, and children’s outdoor recreational areas.
No. Hawaii has been famous for its high-quality marijuana since the 1970s and has hosted a broad variety of cannabis-themed events since then. There is no licensing framework that applies to cannabis event organizers or venues.
No. Hawaii does not require cannabis event organizers to apply for or receive special licensing. Private venue owners may choose to refuse to host cannabis-related events, however.
Yes. Hawaiian state law makes no distinction between cannabis dispensaries, cultivators, and event organizers when it comes to cannabis expositions and events.
Hawaii requires dispensaries to track cannabis product sales according to unique batch numbers. Cannabis dispensaries must be able to produce full travel manifests for all of their products – from seed to sale – and report lost, destroyed, and stolen products to authorities immediately.
Hawaiian medical marijuana dispensaries must implement site-specific security solutions. For cultivation sites, 24/7 video monitoring and electronic alarm systems are mandatory. For dispensaries, video monitoring, alarms, external lighting, and ID-based access control are required.
Yes. Hawaii allows dispensaries to package and label their own cannabis products. The state strictly enforces rules concerning cannabis product labeling. Cannabis products must be packaged in opaque, childproof containers that use black lettering on a white background with no pictures or graphics.
Don’t risk it. There is no specific legislation mentioning the sale of tobacco or alcohol in the medical marijuana dispensary environment, but it is unlikely that regulators would approve of such sales if mentioned in a dispensary application.
Yes. Hawaii offers a single license type to both cannabis dispensaries and cultivators. While applicants must pay additional fees for every individual site they open (up to a maximum of two dispensaries and two cultivation sites), the state generally encourages vertically integrated operations.
No. Hawaii specifically forbids dispensary owners and employees from distributing cannabis products for free on the premises of a retail dispensing location or production center.
Hawaii does not specify operating hours that cannabis dispensaries must adhere to. Cannabis dispensaries are largely able to determine their own operating hours but must report them to state authorities when applying for a license.
Yes. However, state law forbids cannabis dispensaries from popularizing the psychoactive effect of marijuana as a recreational drug or using graphics and messaging that applies to children. Hawaii state law explicitly prohibits the use of cartoon characters.
Medical marijuana cardholders over the age of 18 can purchase cannabis directly from a dispensary. Minors must entrust a certified caregiver to make purchases on their behalf.
Seed-to-sale reporting refers to a batch number-based system for keeping track of every cannabis product on sale in the state. Cultivators and dispensaries have to report sales and logistics information to authorities whenever asked.