Hawaii Should Allow Dispensaries, State Auditor Says

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Hawaii is one of a handful of states that permits medical marijuana but prohibits dispensaries. A report from the state auditor this week advocates changing that, urging local lawmakers to set up a system of regulated dispensaries to serve patients.

The report could be the tipping point that finally convinces the state to move forward with an MMJ business infrastructure, which could generate tens of millions annually in sales.

“Because the sale of marijuana is illegal under state law, there is no place within the state to legally obtain marijuana, which forces qualifying medical marijuana patients to either grow their own (MMJ) or seek out black market products,” the report reads. “For this overriding reason, we conclude that regulation of dispensaries is needed to protect the public from potential harm.”

The report goes on to say that without a system of regulated dispensaries, “patients’ health is jeopardized because a product’s strength, strain and lack of contaminants cannot be verified.”

A bill to allow for dispensaries was introduced during the 2014 legislative session in Honolulu, but it never made it out of the state House of Representatives.

The report urges the state to tweak that bill and require licensing for dispensaries as well as grant the health department authority to determine the number of centers will be allowed.