by Andrew Walden
Who will profit from Hawaii's newly enacted 'medical' marijuana bill?
Of course it will be the usual political insiders.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairman Robert Lindsey is a director of La'i'opua 2020, a nonprofit centered on the Big Island Hawaiian Homelands Community surrounding Kealakehe High School.
La'i'opua 2020 has received:
- $137,210 in OHA Grants from FY2009-2015 according to the OHA Check Register published by Hawai'i Free Press last week
- $5M in federal funding to build a medical clinic, 2012
- $1.35M in state funding to design the medical clinic and build a parking lot
Now we are learning about what type of 'medicine' they have in mind. Just as they completed construction of the federally funded medical center, a May, 2015 notice on the La'i'opua 2020 website asks:
Is Medical Marijuana in our Association Future?
...Hawaii could have medical marijuana dispensaries as soon as July 15 next year under a bill approved by a House-Senate.
The question to ask the Association is whether this could be a business to which the Association could benefit from. What are the obstacles? What are the pros and cons to become a leader in this “pharmacy industry”? Will DHHL support VOLA (Villages of Laiopua Association) to initiate such progressive business model?
The Association Board has scheduled an invitation to meet with a native Hawaiian entrepreneur currently operating out of Arizona and Las Vegas. The VOLA Association Board will listen and make recommendation to the membership if it warrants any further consideration....
The use of OHA funds to set up a marijuana dispensary is consistent with OHA's record. In 2006 OHA Trustees acted to block the County of Kauai from constructing a drug treatment facility, thus helping to build customer demand.
The large-dollar grants to La'i'opua 2020 will be especially helpful because Hawaii Act 241 requires wannabe medical marijuana dealers show evidence they control $2M in capital for each dispensary license.
Under Act 241, each 'patient' will be able to legally buy up to 6 lbs of marijuana per year. For patients who can't smoke that much weed and want to illegally unload some of their surplus, the proximity of Kealakehe High School is a bonus.
Hawai'i Free Press reached out to Lindsey to see if marijuana is in his future.
UPDATE: In response, Lindsey claims he is unaware of his organization's plans.
La'i'opua 2020 Taxpayer and Trust Dollars