Hawaii dispensaries sold 1,569 pounds of medical marijuana totaling $12.6 million in 2018, state Health Department statistics show.
That’s projected to grow by “thousands” as Hawaii opens registration for the first time today to out-of-state patients. Both residents and patients in other states who intend to visit the islands can now register online for an electronic registration card to purchase pakalolo at local dispensaries.
Health director Bruce Anderson estimates a 10 percent to 20 percent increase in patients with the new registration process.
“I’m guessing we’re going to see less than 10,000 more just from visitors,” Anderson said at a news conference Tuesday. Locally, there are nearly 25,000 registered patients.
For a $49.50 application fee, patients already registered in 37 other jurisdictions, including four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, can apply for a medical cannabis card up to 60 days before visiting the islands. The card is valid for 60 days and patients may apply twice in a calendar year. If they plan to stay longer, the DOH recommends they be certified by a local doctor to get a card valid up to a year.
Purchase limits remain the same — no more than 4 ounces every 15 days. Out-of-state patients are prohibited from growing weed.
The state legalized medical cannabis in 2000, but patients had no legal way to obtain the drug until Maui Grown Therapies opened in August 2017, followed by Aloha Green Apothecary in Honolulu. The other pot retailers include Pono Life Maui and Noa Botanicals and Cure Oahu in Honolulu. In May, Green Aloha Ltd., doing business as Have a Heart, also started sales on Kauai. In August, Hawaiian Ethos on the Hawaii island received approval to start growing weed but has not received the green light yet to begin sales. Big Island Grown Dispensaries, formerly known as Lau Ola, opened in January.
For more information on the dispensary program go to health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis.