Lawmakers in Hawaii are taking a closer look at the possibility of setting up a state-run dispensary and cultivation program.

The state will hold a public hearing in Hilo today to take input from advocates, patients and other stakeholders who want to have their voices heard. It is the first – and for now, the only – public hearing scheduled on the topic.

A task force created by legislative action this year is hosting the hearing, with a goal of providing recommendations to lawmakers regarding establishment of a medical marijuana dispensary program. The recommendations are expected to be considered in the 2015 legislative session.

, Hawaii Solicits Public Input on Dispensaries

Industry experts familiar with Hawaii’s current system say there are pros and cons to both approaches.

The big concern with the caregiver/collective model is that excess yield from cultivation is easily diverted to the black market, and there is not a consistent product available to patients.

A state-run program, however, would likely drive up prices. The program would likely also be complicated to implement and administer, as evidenced by other states that have launched dispensaries.