When people think of Hawaii they likely think of relaxation, easy-going lifestyle and the cool ocean breeze, but when it comes to Hawaii's medical marijuana program there is nothing easy-going about it. Few things are regulated as heavily as legal cannabis and business owners are not trying to take any chances with the law. Dispensaries have a lot of hoops to jump through to get products to customers, but they also have many regulations on what they can and cant' sell and how. Dispensaries can't sell any smoking paraphernalia, they can't sell edibles, and the customers are never allowed to touch cannabis buds in the store. Only 8 dispensaries are available to serve patients on the island but officials think that over time there could be room for more dispensaries and some relaxation on the regulations.
In an interview, Garth explained that he understands the public-safety reasons for controlling the plants from seeds to sale. Still, “the vertically oriented market is incredibly cumbersome when it comes to the costs of production,” he said.
“Given the general attitudes in Hawaii, once they get their feet wet, I think they will liberalize,” he said.
“Everyone wants to just be sure that they are doing the right thing,” Cho said, “because at the end of the day, we are still dealing with a Schedule I drug.”