State officials meet with lawmakers about medical marijuana dispensaries

We’re getting closer to the start of a medical marijuana dispensary system here in Hawaii, and state officials got a chance to go over their concerns with lawmakers at an informational briefing Monday.

Those concerns include the criteria in which dispensary applicants will be judged. Officials are concerned this will not result in the most qualified people to work at the dispensaries.

Officials are also concerned about the ban on specific greenhouses for marijuana growing, which they say would lower costs to customers.

“The fact of the matter is, we live in the state with the highest energy costs in the nation,” said one official, “and without greenhouses, these costs for electricity will be passed on to the consumer.”

“I think the legislature is going to go into session and we can address some of those issues,” said House Health committee chair Rep. Della Au Belatti (D), “so if there is a strong prohibition against greenhouses and the legislature feels strongly enough, we can certainly revisit that question.”

Eight licenses will be issued, and each of those can operate two grow sites and two retail dispensaries.

Applications will be accepted Tuesday, January 12 through Friday, January 29. License recipients are expected to be announced in mid-April.

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