Hawaii’s medical marijuana program is making slow but steady progress.
The state’s health department has named five people to be on a panel that will award eight MMJ business licenses.
Hawaii received 66 applications for business licenses from 59 companies. Final decisions on the business permits are expected April 15, and license winners can open July 15.
The panel that will determine winners includes:
- H. David Bess, a professor of management and transportation at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
- Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, deputy to the chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
- Keith Ridley, chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance within the Hawaii State Department of Health.
- James Duffy, Jr., a retired associate justice of the Hawaii State Supreme Court.
- John Fisher III, a scientific director of Keystone Laboratories and a lab inspector for the College of American Pathologists.
Hawaii’s MMJ program is advancing in other ways as well.
The state’s patient population increased by 16% over the last year, for example.
In January 2015, there were 11,402 registered MMJ patients, and at the end of last month, there were 13,244 patients, according to the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. That’s a good indication that even more patients will likely sign up once dispensaries begin to open.