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Hawaii announces 8 medical marijuana license winners

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  • STAR-ADVERTISER / DEC. 17, 2014

    A medical marijuana grower tended her garden of three cannabis plants at her home in Mililani.


    The Department of Health announced the selection of the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Licensees at the Department of Health today. Sen. Rosalyn Baker, left, Rep. Della Au Belatti and Virginia Pressler spoke after the announcement, at the Health Department.

Prominent Big Island farmer Richard Ha and former Maui Land & Pineapple CEO David Cole were among the eight medical marijuana dispensary license winners announced today, beating out dozens of others including actor Woody Harrelson and Hollywood producer Shep Gordon.

Here is the list of winners:


>> Aloha Green Holdings Inc.: Thomas Wong, Charles Lee

>> Manoa Botanicals LLC: Brian Goldstein, former CEO of Sunrise Capital

>> TCG Retro Market 1 LLC: Tan Yan Chen, Colbert Matsumoto, Richard Lim

Hawaii island:

>> Hawaiian Ethos LLC: Shelby Floyd

>> Lau Ola LLC: Richard Ha, Dylan Shropshire


>> Maui Wellness Group LLC: Gregory Park, David Cole

>> Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC: William Mitchell Jr., Robert Wong


>> Green Aloha Ltd.: Justin Britt, co-founder of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers

TCG Retro Market’s Matsumoto is an insurance executive and recent addition to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation board, while Lim is a former director of the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Matsumoto is also on the board of Oahu Publications Inc., parent company of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Dispensaries can open as soon as July 15.

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.

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

“It’s a feeling of huge responsibility and potential for doing good, so it’s lots of emotions,” said Ha of Lau Ola. “We’re really happy to participate in this, but we got to do this right and we fully intend to do that.”

Ha said his company already has a lease on a property and building plans for facilities, but he expects that the dispensary won’t be up and running until after July.

Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers of Blue Planet Healing was among dozens of applicants who weren’t selected for a license. Rogers, 61, 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 license in the future should the Department of Health decide that the granting of additional licenses 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 licensing fee to the Health Department within seven days of receiving written notice of their selection.

Applicants were required to have $1 million cash, plus $100,000 for each dispensary location. The department must inspect facilities before they can open.

The law allows medical marijuana businesses to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide.

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

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

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.

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    • It’s secret. If you want to know names, addresses, etc. of the patients I’m sure the State would be happy to release that information ACCIDENTALLY AGAIN.

    • I looked at the Oahu winners on the DCCA website: Aloha Green Holdings’ agent is Charles Lee, with an address on Kapahulu Ave; Manoa Botanicals is managed by Brian Goldstein, address on Paty Dr; and TCG Retro Market is owned by Tradewind Capital Group, a corporation headed by Colbert Matsumoto.

      • Didn’t the mayor recently appoint Colbert Matsumoto to HART’s board of directors? Just wondering how many conflict of interest red flags will go up in light of this announcement.

    • California had so many problems they had to eventually close down a number of establishments. Dr.’s would open offices above the ‘marijuana dispensaries’. Patients ‘recreational’ would come into the Dr’s office complaining of lost appetites, headaches, etc. Dr’s prescribe a ‘fix’ and they head downstairs to get their prescriptions filled.

      Something like this would ‘NEVER’ happen here in the islands ?

        • It’s but a matter of time till it’s legalized all together. These license holders know that and are getting in on the ground floor with bribes and political connections. That’s how the Democratic party of Hawaii rolls, marijuana will be yet another “monopoly” operation that will pay (campaign donations) to them annually just like Heco, Matson and all the other monopoly operators.
          It’s a large part of the reason why everything is so expensive in Hawaii. Gotta pay off the politicians to do business in Hawaii.

      • Under California law, state approved dispensaries were allowed to sell to qualified patients over the age of 18. However, federal law prohibits the sale of medial marijuana to anyone under the age of 21. Since Hawaii became the first state to raise the smoking age to 21 earlier this year, dispensaries who comply with Hawaii state law shouldn’t run into the same issues with the Feds with regard to this.

    • Doctors do not prescribe marijuana for any patients under this law. They just certify that a patient has a medical condition that is covered by the medical marijuana law. The patients are treating themselves. Therefore doctors are not legally responsible if anything goes wrong with the patient.

  • These license winners are betting that Hawaii makes recreational marijuana legal. If Hawaii doesn’t, these people will go bankrupt – there aren’t that many people who have prescriptions for medical marijuana – at least not for 16 dispensaries.

      • Those who currently sell pot are delighted with the new legislation. They know, as do most, the cost to sell through the dispensaries will be enormous. Local growers will have a field day., Literally.

        • The dispensaries won’t carry regular pot. Rather, cookies and such, oils, etc. The thinking was, they say, to protect people’s health and not encourage smoking. I think they didn’t consider, or couldn’t understand, that for many people, those approaches aren’t anywhere near as helpful in reducing pain as the smoked product.

  • Somehow I sense that Hawaii is in for more than they expect.

    The proliferation of ‘medicinal’ marijuana, eventually turning ‘recreational’ with criminal intent.

    • Article states” thriving underground market”. So seems to be recreational market has plenty of supply. Dispensary will most likely be for legitimate patient. If anything the dispensary will be more expensive than the thriving recreational marketplace.

  • It’ll be interesting to do the legwork on the winners and see what kind of connections they have. Will SA do this for us? If they don’t — we will.

    Fifteen years ago it was great to be the first state tp legalize medical cannabis — just like it was great to be the first state whose supreme court legitimized LGBT rights.

    But that’s a lot of water under the bridge and we’ve fallen far behind other states in cannabis reform. Time to play catchup!

    Oh BTW, electricity costs for indoor grows are 1/10 as much an issue with the new generation of LCD grow lights. Try to keep up.

      • I believe there’s a clear distinction between a fetus and a baby. I support the current law that hinges on outside-the-womb viability, and a woman’s right to make decisions concerning her own health and reproduction. And I challenge you to show me any determinative scientific evidence of when the human soul enters the fetus. (And of course atheists/agnostics will challenge the existence of the soul as well.)

        You have your right to your religious beliefs, and so do each of the rest of us.

  • Can somebody explain to me how this exclusive club of licensed people is going to slow down the illicit market that already exists? Most folks are simply going to shop where they’ve always shopped.

  • I looked at the Oahu winners on the DCCA website: Aloha Green Holdings’ agent is Charles Lee, with an address on Kapahulu Ave; Manoa Botanicals is managed by Brian Goldstein, address on Paty Dr; and TCG Retro Market is owned by Tradewind Capital Group, a corporation headed by Colbert Matsumoto.

  • “It’s a feeling of huge responsibility and potential for doing good”… crack me up. They should be honest and say they want to make lots of money.

  • Who wants to predict where the first shop will open on Oahu?

    Something Downtown or Kailua or out on the North Shore?

    Never the West or East Side.

  • THE WEINERS! I picked 6 of the 8! So, what do I get? “Richard Ha” (aka HO!) was an inevitable with his previous play in the press months ago, and his sob-story about his investors and how he needed to layoff his workers (so he could put the burden of Unemployment on the Tax Payers). While Harrelson is said to have the largest male copulatory organ (as evidenced in Playgirl Magazine circa ’70’s, “C” of the month) “Ho” was known to bend-over for the Judges, at the snap of the finger… Really, Mr. Ige–how many people do you all think you can continue to fool, all of the time? And, just how many of those GMO companies and Corporations manufacturing homicidal farming propellants are going to underwrite all of those vacations–in the South of France, this year? If you’re going to continue to operate a Sociopathic Government, can’t we, at the very least–have some more attractive people, with the ability to articulate in a more grand fashion (perhaps a few with I.Q.’s well above a measurably respectable earthquake?). Obviously, this is why the Legislature is focusing on Psychologists to dispense “Psychiatric Medications” (the BLUE PILL OR THE RED PILL?)(CHOOSE WISELY).

  • “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.” Tell us something most of us already don’t know. This is akin to saying that the number one industry in Hawaii that affects our economy is tourism while military defense is number two.

    • Actually, “Tourism” is “number two” and is fueled by “number one”–which is Prostitution and Sex and Human Trafficking. Ever wonder why Hawaii is the only State in the USA that doesn’t have any Laws pertaining to Sex and Human Trafficking and Prostitution enforcements are just unheard of…

      • Here in Hawaii, there exists no legal definition of sex trafficking and thus no laws on the books to prosecute it this way. So even prostitutes who are forced to engage in this against their will are treated as criminals instead of victims. It is estimated that there are nearly 3 million illicit sex transactions which take place each year on Oahu, yet with only a few hundred arrests that usually amount to a slap on the wrist, such as being slapped with a petty misdemeanor charge. Under federal law, p*mp controlled prostitution is considered sex trafficking. So unless the feds get involved, johns continue to operate with relative impunity.

  • again its all insiders…. This State and its elite members(politician, Lawers, Etc) is going to ruin the system to only benefit them… nothing is going to change… most likely all thier products is going to be shawags…

  • How are these licensees going to make any money? There are only 13,000 legal marijuana patients in all of Hawaii. If the licensees open 16 dispensaries, on average each dispensary will sell to 812 marijuana patients. With all the money these license holders have to invest in their operation, which includes production facilities and retail outlets, on top of license fees, they would have to charge the patients plenty of money.

    It may be cheaper for patients to buy their marijuana from illegal dealers.

    Or, is there going to be a mad rush of people trying to get fraudulent medical marijuana registration cards? That will then mean we will have a lot of corrupt doctors faking medical records?

    • Drs are unwilling to prescribe to patients if there is a legal alternative do buying illegal pot. These dispensaries will now provide legal means of acquiring. And prescriptions should increase as a result.

  • Looks like the process works.

    Instead of forum writers complaining about organised crime in the mix of bid winners,the recipients have so much integrity that the concern is political influence.

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