Hawaii Delays Awarding MMJ Business Licenses

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Hawaii’s state health department has postponed awarding eight medical marijuana business licenses until at least April 29, having encountered delays tied to the required fingerprinting and background checks of applicants.

The move adds some uncertainty to the licensing process, as it’s possible the delay could stretch into May or beyond. Many other states – most recently Maryland – have experience similar unexpected setbacks that have pushed back the start of their medical cannabis programs multiple times.

Hawaii was scheduled to announce the winners today. But not all applicants have submitted the necessary documents and paperwork.

“We have requested that applicants submit the remaining consents and fingerprints no later than April 25 and we will be pushing hard to complete our review and announce the licensees by Friday, April 29,” Virginia Pressler, the state’s director of health, said in a news release.

The state will divvy up the eight licenses among four islands: three on Oahu; two each on the Big Island and Maui; and one on Kauai.

Each licensee will be allowed to operate two grow centers and two retail dispensaries, bringing to 16 the total number of dispensaries.

The state has received nearly 60 applications. Applicants include actor Woody Harrelson and a retired U.S Navy admiral.