After months of discussion and debate, Hawaii’s full Legislature has given approval to House Bill 321, a proposal to legalize the cultivation and distribution of medical cannabis through state-sanctioned production centers and dispensaries.
The bill was approved unanimously, 24 to 0 in the Senate, and 38 to 13 in the House of Representatives.
Specifically, the measure would authorize 16 dispensaries and 16 production centers throughout the state, which would supply medical cannabis to qualified patients. Cannabis has been legal as a medicine since the Legislature passed legislation in 2000, but patients have had no legal means of obtaining it.
Under the law, the state Department of Health would begin accepting applications for licenses on Jan. 11th, 2016, and would begin distributing licenses on April 15th. Dispensaries could open for business as early as July 15th.
House Bill 321 now goes to Governor David Ige for consideration.