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Ige signs medical marijuana dispensaries bill into law

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Gov. David Ige has approved a new law that will create up to 16 dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana to Hawaii patients.

In a statement released Wednesday, Ige also announced that four other bills will become law without his signature.

“I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana,” Ige said. “We know that our challenge going forward will be to adopt rules that are fair, cost effective and easy to monitor. The bill sets a timeline. We will make a good faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”

Hawaii approved a state law in 2000 allowing for medical marijuana use by patients with a prescription, but never set up a system for distributing cannabis. Patients or their caregivers have been required to either grow their own, or rely on the black market for their supplies.

The new marijuana dispensary law prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and production centers, and allows the legal transport of medical marijuana in public places by qualified patients, caregivers or workers employed by licensed medical marijuana facilities.

The following bills also became law without the governor’s signature:

» House Bill 541 Relating to the University of Hawaii Tuition and Fees Special Fund will require each UH campus to prepare an operations plan.

» Senate Bill 1092 repeals or reclassifies various special funds as recommended by the State Auditor.

» Senate Bill 1297 amends the cigarette tax and tobacco tax law by changing the amount allocated to the trauma system special fund, and establishing maximum dollar amounts that will be distributed among various other special funds.

» Senate Bill 118 requires the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and the state Tax Department to study the impact of real estate investment trusts in Hawaii.

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