Hawaii Growing Fierce Competition for Marijuana Licenses

Civil Beat Honolulu By: Anita Hofschneider.
Competition will be fierce for Hawaii’s eight licenses to grow and sell medical cannabis. Many other types of businesses are looking for a piece of the action as well.

Michael Irish is a longtime Oahu, Hawaii businessman best known as CEO of Diamond Head Seafood Wholesale and Keoki’s Lau Lau.

But next year, he may be involved in a different industry. Growing marijuana and selling it at Hawaii’s newly legalized medical cannabis dispensaries.

Three weeks ago, the owner of nine kim chi and four sauce companies registered a new limited liability company. Hawaiian Isles Marijuana, with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Dispensaries won’t be operating for another year, and the state Department of Health isn’t even accepting applications for licenses to grow and sell marijuana until January.

But potential licensees are already acquiring land, entering partnerships and raising money to boost their chances of obtaining one of the eight licenses that will be available.

In Hawaii, about 13,800 people are currently registered to carry medical marijuana cards. But the state Department of Health expects that number to double once dispensaries open.

Hawaii just added post-traumatic stress disorder as a qualifying ailment for medical marijuana, making more patients eligible to receive cards.

Other qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, wasting syndrome, seizures, severe nausea, severe and persistent muscle spasms and severe pain.


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