HONOLULU – As the deadline to apply for a medical marijuana dispensary license with Hawaii Health Department passes, state legislators are looking to improve the medical marijuana program.
Two weeks ago, Big Island Video News produced a short video examining the ongoing process of creating the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries. The possibilities of the new industry are under the consideration of big names in agriculture, like Richard Ha, who recently announced he would be closing his long time banana farm.
Meanwhile, lawmakers are still trying to sort out the particulars at the Capitol. During a recent information briefing, the Department of Health got an earful from elected officials about their plans to administer the new law. Hawaii Island’s elected officials were concerned about greenhouse provisions, in particular.
On Friday, State Senator Will Espero announced the introduction of several pieces of legislation aimed at “improving the medical marijuana program and further help the patients who use it.” From the media release:
Among the measures introduced is SB2176, which would establish a medical marijuana oversight committee under the Department of Health. The committee would include licensed medical professionals and registered patients that monitor, evaluate, and make recommendations regarding the implementation of the use, cultivation, and dispensing of medical marijuana and the overall program.
Other medical marijuana bills being introduced by Senator Espero are:
SB2175 Requires the Department of Health to issue a third medical marijuana dispensary license for the county of Hawaii. Allows medical marijuana dispensaries to be open during certain hours on Sundays. Allows an individual convicted of a felony to be employed at or enter into a medical marijuana dispensary facility only if the individual has not been convicted of a felony within the six years immediately preceding employment or entry.
SB2177 Requires the Department of Health to issue a receipt that shall serve as a temporary registration certificate for the medical use of marijuana upon receipt of a written certification form completed by or on behalf of a qualifying patient. Increases penalty for fraudulent misrepresentation to a law enforcement official relating to the issuance of a written certificate by a physician.
SB2178 Allows arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and stress to be included among the debilitating medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be authorized to be used.
SB2306 Allows the Department of Health to revoke a medical marijuana dispensary license under certain conditions and subject to a ninety day notice followed by a public hearing within fourteen days. Establishes a fine of up to $500 per day for any licensee who violates state law or administrative rules. Allows a licensee to appeal a fine to an ad hoc special committee. Allows the Department of Health to choose a new licensee if the department revokes a license.
SB2307 Beginning January 1, 2017, establishes a licensing system for medical marijuana growing facilities, production centers, and retail dispensing locations. Allows persons authorized to use and possess medical marijuana in other states to be treated similarly to qualifying patients in this State pursuant to rules adopted by the Department of Health after 1/1/2018. Authorizes the department of health to conduct criminal history checks on license applicants; licensees; prospective employees of growing facilities, production centers, and retail dispensing locations; subcontractors; and persons authorized to enter and remain on such premises. Repeals chapter 329D on December 31, 2016.
SB2308 Establishes a working group to research and make recommendations regarding medical marijuana edibles for human consumption.
SB2627 Establishes a medical marijuana commission to evaluate and make recommendations about the overall effectiveness of the medical marijuana dispensaries in the State.
SB2757 Authorizes the Department of Agriculture to establish a three-year industrial hemp research program to investigate the viability of industrial hemp as a building material for housing in the State. Requires a final report to the legislature prior to the convening of the regular session of 2019. Defines “industrial hemp”. Repeals 7/1/2019.