Hawaii Tweaks Medical Marijuana Law

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Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed legislation that tweaks the state’s new medical marijuana program, including provisions that could mean tax breaks, more products and more patients for dispensaries.

Under the state’s MMJ program, dispensaries are allowed to open for business Friday. But it’s unclear if any will be ready. Hawaii recently awarded eight licenses, with each license permitting the holder to operate two dispensaries.

Some of the bill’s key dispensary provisions, according to West Hawaii Today, include:
  • Allowing dispensaries to claim certain state business tax credit write-offs – but not dispensaries in so-called enterprise zones
  • Allowing dispensaries to open on Sundays
  • Expanding the types of marijuana products patients can legally buy to include transdermal skin patches and inhalers

Some of the bill’s key cultivation rule changes include:

  • Defining a single “plant” as 12 inches high and 12 inches wide, and allowing 3,000 plants per production center. Under the definition, West Hawaii Today reported, a dispensary could have an infinite number of smaller-sized clones and seedlings.
  • Allowing dispensaries to grow plants in buildings with transparent or translucent roofs starting in 2017. The hope is that businesses will spend less on electricity by capitalizing on Hawaii’s ample sunlight.

Other notable provisions include:

  • Allowing marijuana to be transferred between islands for testing purposes – an indispensable provision for dispensaries on islands without a testing lab
  • Allowing the University of Hawaii to conduct cannabis research
  • Allowing advanced practice registered nurses to certify new patients