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Monday, October 5, 2015
October 5, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:38 PM :: 4196 Views

Memo Outlines Reasons The Akaka Tribe Might be Very Disappointed with Interior Department

Standard-Setting Deal on Pacific Trade Ironed Out After Six Years

“Time to repeal the Jones Act”

US Scores Near Bottom in International Tax Competitiveness

Some well-known names look to score pot licenses

SA: Big-name entrepreneurs, high-profile attorneys and former politicians are positioning themselves to compete for one of the eight licenses the state will issue next year to begin selling medical marijuana legally in Hawaii for the first time.

Nearly 30 new business registrations include “marijuana,” “cannabis,” “pakalolo” and “weed” in their names, many of them filed with the state since the enactment of the law authorizing the establishment of pot dispensaries. Many are associated with well-known business personalities.

The daughter of Henk Rogers, owner of the Tetris video game brand, is among those planning to apply, as is Bill Jarvis, CEO of Mobi PCS, and Michael Irish, CEO of kimchee manufacturer Halm’s Enterprises Inc. and Keoki’s Lau Lau. Anthony Takitani, a Maui attorney and former state legislator, registered Maui Medical Marijuana Dispensary LLC with Hollywood film agent and producer Shep Gordon. Former Honolulu Mayor and longtime city Prosecutor Peter Carlisle is representing a group of critical-care doctors vying for a license, and David Louie, previously state attorney general, is also representing a potential licensee.

(Akamai readers will note that all of this has already been reported in Hawai'i Free Press.)

read ... Keep the People Doped  Up so We Can Keep Stealing Everything

Big Shots: High Cost of Electricity Makes Marijuana Unprofitable, So Don't Bother Competing With Us

SA: Jarvis, of Mobi PCS, is investing $4 million to $6 million of his own money to get started, but he doesn’t think the industry will be as lucrative as people believe.

“I’m hearing from people who are coming here from the mainland talking about how everyone’s going to get ridiculously wealthy. I think it’s misguided, and I don’t think it’s based in fact,” he said. “It’s not that lucrative of a business, really, when you think about the cost of electricity that’s roughly four times the national average, real estate that is more expensive and the cost of shipping goods here to Hawaii. It’s also an industry that requires high levels of security if you want to do it right. That’s an added expense most businesses don’t have.”

Irish, whose mother died when he was 13 after a painful battle with cancer, also said the numbers don’t pencil out for profitability.

“It’s not a cash cow. We have a limited amount of people we have to service,” he said. “It doesn’t make the kind of money it does in Cali¬≠fornia because of the restrictions our (state is) putting on us to make sure it’s available to the people who have prescriptions today. Each location is going to get 2,000 to 3,000 prescriptions. If you do the math, it doesn’t work.”

At that margin, Irish is worried that marijuana sold by dispensaries will be so expensive that people will continue to buy it on the street. The state Department of Health is still drafting rules for the program.

“Let’s say a bag of marijuana is $100 on the street. If you actually do this in a dispensary, it could cost between $400 to $500” because of government fees and regulations, Irish said. “The consumer has to pay for it. I want to make sure we can get it to the people who need it at the right possible price. Until we know what (the rules are), none of us will actually know if we’re able to afford it or if it will be economical.”

Other potential players in this high-stakes industry have already bowed out.

Ko Olina and Princeville developer Jeff Stone registered Hanalei Cannabis and Halelea Cannabis, as well as trade names Hanalei Weed and Halelea Weed, in June. His registrations say the business is for the purpose of “farming, dispensary, sales and services.”

But Stone said he has no plans to open a pot dispensary. “I assure you I have no interest of applying for a growing license for weed,” he said in an email. “My attorneys suggested we protect our resort brands by registering names that could be associated with our properties so others couldn’t use them.”

Likewise, Yuriko McPhail, owner of the Honolulu Baking Co., which provides baked goods and fresh sandwiches, salads and fruits for Starbucks, said she has “decided not to pursue any opportunities in this industry,” although she registered the trade name Cannabis Hawaii in June.

Hank Wuh, founder and CEO of biomedical firm Skai Ventures LLC, also said he is “definitely not applying for a license,” despite registering DTB Dispensary Hawaii LLC on Sept. 15....

read ... Just Ignore the fact that I'm doing this

HECO President Says Cheap Electricity Is a 'Pipe Dream' in Hawaii

CB: Hawaiian Electric Co. CEO and President Alan Oshima would like to puncture a dream once and for all: This state shouldn’t expect cheap electricity. It could become less expensive, eventually, but it won’t be cheap.

Hawaii simply won’t bridge the vast gap between our prices and those of the contiguous United States, where typical customers have until recently spent about $1 for every $3 we fork out to power our homes and businesses. Despite the sharp drop in the cost of fuel oil, which Hawaii uses to generate most of its power, our rates remain about two and a half times the mainland average.

Regardless of the volatility of oil prices, we will continue to pay a paradise tax in the islands, the head of HECO says. It is due to our remote geography, a “high-cost environment” and the fact that we can’t tap into neighboring state’s grids as a backup.

Related: Electric Rates: Hawaii 90% Higher Than #2 State

read ... Pipe Dream

Kaiser Permanente’s vision for Maui Hospitals 

MN: ...While we're just beginning the process of negotiating the final terms and conditions of the partnership with the Maui Region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., Kaiser Permanente is committed to preserving these facilities as community hospitals - meaning they would continue to service all patients, accepting all types of health insurance, with an open medical staff of physicians from various medical groups and community practices. No one will need to change his or her doctor or insurance plan to receive care at any of the three facilities.

We're accustomed to working with patients who do not have Kaiser Permanente health insurance. For example, about 20 percent of the ER patients at our Moanalua Medical Center are insured by other companies or have no health insurance at all. We also work with providers who are not part of our medical group all the time, contracting with affiliate providers in the community.

We want to enhance services on Maui so that more care can be delivered on island. This will require an ambitious recruitment effort for more specialty physicians and other clinicians - something we know will not be easy, because the state is experiencing a growing doctor shortage. We've already expanded our recruitment staff to meet this challenge.

We have much work to do in other areas as well, including installation of our leading-edge electronic medical records system....

read ... Kaiser Permanente’s vision for Maui welcomes everyone

Anti-GMO Lobbyists Refuse to Reveal Funding Sources

KE: As Civil Beat reports today, the Hawaii Center for Food Safety has demanded, without success, all emails exchanged between five state lawmakers and seed industry officials.

The ostensible purpose of the request is to determine whether the biotech industry exerted any untoward influence on lawmakers when agricultural pesticide bills were up for consideration last years.

But what Civil Beat fails to reveal, likely because it's never bothered to look, is that Hawaii CFS director Ashley Lukens, herself a registered lobbyist, has never disclosed who is funding her work. In her reports for January and February 2015 and March-April 2015, she offers no clue as to how she earns her keep. No lobbying reports were filed for 2014.

Meanwhile, the 2014 tax return for her CFS parent organization in Washington is not available and its 2013 IRS 990 report makes no reference to Hawaii.

So the public is left completely in the dark, in terms of knowing who has funded Ashley's lobbying and other work, which supposedly is carried out on the public's behalf.

read ... Musings: Double Standards

Council Enacts TOD Zoning

SA: The Honolulu Planning Commission voted last week to recommend approval of a city proposal to rezone about 282 acres in Waipahu to make way for mixed-use communities around the area’s two rail stations.

The proposal, approved by a 7-0 vote, will now proceed to the City Council for further discussion and a final vote.

Drafted by the city Department of Planning and Permitting, the proposal calls for rezoning about 105 acres around the Waipahu transit center station and about 177 at the West Loch station. The zone changes would allow for more mixed uses, where building heights would generally remain the same.

The plan also would amend the land use ordinance to create a new transit-oriented development, or TOD, special district. Standards and regulations within the district would apply to areas around all of the city’s rail stations, except for two in Kakaako that are under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

Establishing the new special district modeled around the concept of “live, work, play” seeks to, among other things, improve mobility, direct Oahu’s future population growth to areas along the rail system and create “quality community gathering spaces,” according to the DPP.

Developers would be able to apply for additional heights and densities around the rail stations but will need to provide public benefits in return, including affordable housing, parks and pedestrian amenities.

read ... Development

Homeless Person Owns Four, Count'em Four Tablet Devices and a Laptop

CB: ...a Toshiba laptop, a Samsung tablet, an iPad, and her daughter’s two iPod touches....

read ... Says City Trashed Them

DoE Teacher Tries to Blame Parents for SPED Downfalls

Lets Just Skip to the Comments: "What you've described is an IEP team meeting which is required by federal IDEA law for special needs children. IEP team members can consist of many teachers which is also required by IDEA. What you may or may not know is those team meetings are far from cooperative. Imagine being a parent trying to get more than 20 minutes of speech therapy for a non-verbal 7 year old child and have to explain why it is necessary to 7,8,9 or more DOE personnel, many of whom are there to intimidate the single parent member of the team. Money is tight and if the DOE spent that money on the children rather than hiring admin staff who are non-providers, the schools may actually help these children...."

Related: Autism: Federal Judge Orders DoE to Pay for Special Education in Private Schools

read ... The Comments

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