Hawaii Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS HAWAII’S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Hawaii legalized cannabis for medical purposes and decriminalized possession of cannabis in January 2020. Recreational cannabis is still illegal however. In 2015, Act 241 passed which stated the Hawaiian government would set up a medical cannabis dispensary process by 2016. In 2017, the first dispensary in Hawaii opened in Maui.
WHAT ARE HAWAII’S CANNABIS LAWS?
Since 2000, medical cannabis has been legal in the state of Hawaii. In 2015, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii was created to require those who qualify for medical cannabis to register before using cannabis for medical purposes. This program regulated who received cannabis cards and ensured the legal use of medical cannabis. Legislation in 2015, specifically Act 241, laid the groundwork for individuals to apply for dispensary licenses in Hawaii and open in 2016. As of January 2020, Hawaii decriminalized cannabis possession of three grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $130 fine.
WHAT IS HAWAII’S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
The Hawaii Department of Health is not currently accepting new applications for medical cannabis dispensary licenses. All current dispensaries are operating under licenses granted in 2016. Each application must indicate that the individual has at least $1,000,000 in resources and an additional $100,000 for every retail location they are planning to open.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN HAWAII?
In 2000, Hawaiian governor Ben Cayetano signed into law Act 228, allowing medical cannabis patients or their caretakers to grow their own cannabis. However, the law did not establish any legal market or dispensaries. In 2015, the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program of Hawaii was created to require those who qualify for medical cannabis to register before using cannabis for medical purposes. This program regulated who received cannabis cards and ensured the legal use of medical cannabis.
After Act 241 was passed in 2015, medical dispensaries were slowly opening up around Hawaii in 2016. In the same year, Senate Bill 321 established a dispensary system which allowed eight medical cannabis dispensaries in Hawaii, which differed by island.
On July 10, 2018, Governor Ige signed HB 2729 — a reciprocity bill — into law. The law allows patients who are registered in other medical marijuana states to use medical cannabis when they visit Hawaii.
In July of 2019, a decriminalization bill was passed which made possession of three grams or less of marijuana punishable by a $130 fine, under the prior law the punishment was up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
DOES HAWAII HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE HAWAII CANNABIS MARKET?
Hawaii is not currently accepting applications, however those with an interest in pursuing a medical cannabis dispensary in Hawaii have a great amount of time to prepare. From business plan development, financial projections and pro formas, building design and selection, design and marketing, and templated application responses, Point7 has the resources and knowledge needed to ensure an applicant is prepared and stands out to application reviewers. Email today to schedule a call with a dedicated Point7 team member.