Dispensary Bill Clears Hawaii Legislature

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Dispensaries could finally be coming to Hawaii – a decade and a half after the state legalized medical marijuana.

On the final day of the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill to set up a medical cannabis dispensary system across the state’s islands. The measure now goes to Gov. David Ige, who has not expressly said that he will sign it, although observers expect it to become law.

The bill allows for the state Department of Health to award up to eight business licenses, with two dispensaries and two cultivation sites allowed per license. The application period would begin in January 2016, with the first dispensaries slated to open that July.

Entrepreneurs in other states hoping to get directly involved with cannabis cultivation and sales will face some hurdles should the law pass. Individuals who apply for licenses must have lived in the state for at least five years, and locals meeting that residency requirement must own at least 51% of limited liability companies seeking permits.

There are also strict financial requirements for applicants: Contenders for the eight licenses would need a minimum of $1.2 million on hand. The application fee is pegged at $5,000 and the licensing fee is $75,000.