Woody Harrelson’s bid to open medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii turned down

Published: Saturday 30th April 2016 by The News Editor

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Hollywood actor Woody Harrelson has failed in his bid to open a medical marijuana dispensary in Hawaii.

The Oscar-nominated actor was among nearly 60 Hawaii residents who applied in January to open the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries.

A four-member panel reviewed nearly 66 applications to open dispensaries based on criteria including companies’ proof of financial stability, ability to comply with security requirements and being able to meet patient needs. Eight businesses were selected by the state.

The panel would not discuss why it selected and rejected particular dispensaries, but Hawaii’s health department said it expects to release the scores of each applicant in the next two weeks.

Aloha Green Holdings, Manoa Botanicals and TCG Retro Market 1 were selected to open dispensaries on Oahu. Hawaiian Ethos and Lau Ola were chosen for the Big Island, while Maui Wellness Group and Pono Life Sciences Maui were selected on Maui.

One company, Green Aloha, was selected to open dispensaries on Kauai.

Richard Ha of Lau Ola, one of the companies selected for the Big Island, said: “It’s a feeling of huge responsibility and potential for doing good, so it’s lots of emotions.

“We’re really happy to participate in this, but we’ve got to do this right and we fully intend to do that.”

Mr Ha said his company already has a lease on a property and building plans for facilities, but he expects the dispensary will not be up and running until at least after July.

Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers, of Blue Planet Healing, was among dozens of applicants who were not selected for a licence. Mr Rogers is famous for designing the video game Tetris more than 20 years ago, and lives in Hawaii in an entirely solar-powered home.

“We look forward to applying for a medical marijuana dispensary licence in the future should the Department of Health decide that the granting of additional licences to operate a medical marijuana dispensary is in the best interest of the people of the state of Hawaii,” Blue Planet Healing said in a statement.

Dispensary applicants are required to pay a 75,000 US dollars licensing fee to Hawaii’s Department of Health within seven days of receiving written notice of their selection.

Applicants were required to have 1 million dollars cash, plus 100,000 dollars for each dispensary location. The Hawaii Department of Health, which awarded the licences, must inspect facilities before they can open.

The law allows medical marijuana businesses to have two production centres and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries state-wide.

Six are allowed on Oahu, four on Hawaii Island, four on Maui and two on Kauai.

Hawaii became the first state to legalise medical marijuana through the legislative process 16 years ago. Under a law passed in 2015, the state could grant eight licences.

Industry experts say Hawaii’s medical marijuana businesses could be confronted with challenges unlike those in other states, such as navigating rules that ban inter-island transport and limit the number of growers.

They say the new Hawaii industry could also face problems such as the nation’s highest electricity costs for indoor growing and a thriving underground market.

Published: Saturday 30th April 2016 by The News Editor

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