Next Steps For Hawaii Medical Marijuana License

The Hawaii Department of Health’s deadline to complete and submit applications was on January 29, 2016. There were close to 60 applicants vying for the 8 licenses to be awarded.

Upon being selected to receive a license by he Department, you will need to fulfill the following prior to being fully operational:

  • Submit a fee of $75,000 to the Department within 7 days of receiving a written selection from the Department
  • Apply and obtain a certificate to possess and handle marijuana and manufactured marijuana products through the Department of Public Safety Narcotics Enforcement Division (NED)
  • Provide proof of the NED certificate to the Department within 7 days of obtaining the certificate
  • A dispensary licensee must provide the Department with the address, tax map key number, and a copy of the premises title or lease (as applicable) of all proposed premises
  • Inspections by the Department for operational progressions that requires a written notice to proceed for each phase of production and distribution
    • Operational phases include staffing, training, building inspections etc.


The medical use of marijuana has been legal in the state of Hawaii for almost fifteen years. In June 14, 2000, Act 28 was passed which made legal the use of Marijuana to treat certain medical conditions; however, the law did not make any mention as to how and from where a qualified individual to use marijuana for medicinal purposes could get a hold of medical marijuana products.

As of January 1, 2015, Hawaii’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program was transferred from the Hawaii Department of Public Safety to the Hawaii Department of Health and on July 14, 2015, ACT 241, HB 321 was signed, establishing a regulated statewide dispensary system for medical marijuana.

In Hawaii, the Department of Health does not plan to hold a public hearings or accept public comments on rules regarding Hawaii’s medical marijuana dispensary system. Unfortunately for entrepreneurs interested in applying for a medical marijuana dispensary license in the state this means that they will have only a few days to review the rules before submitting an application.

Medical Marijuana Patient Qualifying Conditions

Debilitating conditions such as the following:

  • Cancer
  • Glaucoma
  • Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome;
  • Any chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions that produces one or more of the following:
    • Cachexia or wasting syndrome
    • Severe pain
    • Severe nausea
    • Seizures including those characteristic of epilepsy
    • Severe and persistent muscle spasms, including those characteristic of multiple sclerosis or Crohn’s disease
    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Any other medical condition approved by the department of health pursuant to administrative rules in response to a request from a physician or potentially qualifying patient

Important Dates

12/11/2015: Last day to get eCrime report

12/12/2015: Earliest day to get a tax clearance certificated issued by the department of taxation

01/04/2016: Hawaii Health Department provide for a selection process and criteria based on merit for verified applicants for medical marijuana dispensary licenses

01/11/2016: Medical marijuana dispensary license application form made available by the  Hawaii Department of Health

11/12/2016: Medical marijuana dispensary license open application period starts

01/29/2016: Application period ends.

04/15/2016: Medical marijuana dispensary licensees selected will be announced.

06/15/2016: Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries may begin dispensing, with the approval of the department.

Documents Related To Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Program

If you are interested in applying for a medical marijuana license in the state of Hawaii, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the following documents:

  • ACT 228 SLF 2000 – Hawaii’s initial Medical use of Marijuana law
  • Act 178 SLH 2013 – Makes several changes to the current law
  • Act 241 SLH 2015 – Adds non-discriminatory language to existing laws as it may pertain to the medical use of marijuana
  • Chapter 11-160, HRS – DOO administrative Rules for the medical use of marijuana.
  • HRS 329 Hawaii’s Uniformed Controlled Substances Act
  • US Department of Justice “Updated to Marijuana Enforcement Policy”  August 29, 2013.
  • US Department of Justice “Formal Medical Marijuana Guidelines” October 9, 2009


  • Non refundable application fee of $5,000 for each license application shall be submitted to the department
  • Within seven day of approval, a dispensary license fee of $75,000 for each license approved shall be submitted to the department by certified or cashiers’. Failure to submit this fee will result in the Hawaii Department of health issuing the license to the next qualified applicant.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Regulations Summary

  • The legislation allows licensed dispensaries to begin selling medical marijuana in Hawaii between July 15 and Nov. 1, 2016.
  • Retail dispensary locations shall not be the same as the dispensary licensee’s production centers.
  • Dispensaries will be required to test their products by a certified laboratory within their county.
  • Applications must be submitted to the Hawaii Department of Health
  • Each license granted allows the operation of two production sites and two retail locations within the county for which the county is issued
  • No person may receive more than one license
  • The Hawaii Department of Health will issue only eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses will be issued. From those eight dispensary licenses;
    • three will be issued for Honolulu city and county
    • two will be issued for Hawaii County
    • two for Maui County; and
    • one for Kwai County

Zoning Regulations For Medical Marijuana Dispensaries And Production Facilities

There are approximately 4,112,388 total acres of land in Hawaii. Forty-five percent of the all land in Hawaii is reserved for agricultural purposes. Medical marijuana production centers will be allowed in areas in which agricultural production is permitted as long as it is not within seven hundred fifty feet of a playground, public housing projects or complex, or school.

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Selection

The Hawaii Department of Health will grant dispensary licenses based on merit. The department shall consider the following criteria when reviewing each application:

  • The applicants’ ability to operate a business
  • The applicant financial stability and access to financial resources.
  • The applicants ability to comply with the Security requirements
  • Capacity to meet the needs of qualifying patients.
  • Ability to comply with criminal background check requirements for all employees and partners.
  • The applicants ability to comply with inventory controls


The below report was the precursor to Act 241 before it became law.

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