Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for quite some time. So why is it nearly impossible to find a dispensary in the Aloha State?
Act 228, which allows patients with medical marijuana cards to buy, possess, and use the drug for medicinal purposes was signed into law by Hawaii’s Governor Ben Cayetano in 2000.
Fifteen years later, another act was signed into law in order to create a medical marijuana dispensary system. It clearly states that many patients (nearly 13,000) “lack the ability to grow their own supply of medical marijuana… As a result, a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana is urgently needed by qualifying patients in the State.’
Despite state law, Hawaii’s lack of dispensaries makes it nearly impossible for many medical marijuana patients to buy their medicine. According to Marijuana Business Daily, the biggest struggle seems to lie in getting a permit, and obeying to all the current safety laws. For example, there must be an adequate water supply for firefighting, finding spot with the right supply isn’t easy.
According to the Atlantic, Aloha Green, a dispensary in Honolulu, has apparently printed out all of the legislation and hung it on the wall so they won’t forget any tiny detail. For example, selling paraphernalia is not an option, and the buds can’t be touched by the client. Another non-negligible fact is that they have to grow their own product.
Perhaps there would be more dispensaries if state laws were a bit less rigid.
The Effect on MMJ Patients
MMJ patients in Hawaii can grow their own cannabis or designate a caretaker to do it for them. But, as stated above, this is not always an option. Often, the problem is a lack of space or a physical limitation keeping someone from cultivating. The only option for thousands of people is to get their cannabis at a dispensary. But unlike many other states, these haven’t opened on every corner in the Aloha State.
Getting the drug from another state isn’t an option, since transporting it across state lines is a federal crime. The only option is finding a caretaker who can cultivate cannabis, or find a dispensary somewhere in the state.
According to High Times, starting next year, Hawaii will allow visitors (in some cases) to buy medical marijuana in Hawaii during their stay. Strict rules will apply, and a temporary card will cost $45 (plus a $4.50 processing fee).
In order for this to work, there must be enough dispensaries on the state’s islands to handle demand. This leads us to think that the state is working on the issue. Who knows, maybe the pressure from thousands of tourists will push them to help cannabis entrepreneurs in the state.