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Thursday, December 31, 2015
‘Santa Claus Came Early’ for Hawaii’s Politically-Connected Marijuana License Seekers
By News Release @ 9:55 PM :: 5609 Views :: Drugs

Hawaii Medical Marijuana Regulations Released Final Rules Agency Offers Consulting for Stakeholder

News Release from

HONOLULU, Dec. 30, 2015 -- Santa came early this year for Hawaii dispensary applicant hopefuls when the Department of Health officials opted out of an official public commentary period and dispensary regulations were adopted just days before Christmas.

While many are eating, drinking and being merry, Final Rules Consulting agency advises potential Hawaiian dispensary applicants to keep focused because the window of opportunity will close shortly (January 29th before 4:30pm Hawaii Time).

With a limited amount of time, Final Rules, a national marijuana-consulting agency, advises industry hopefuls on how to craft merit based responses in 3-5 pages or less during in person meetings January 2nd -5th. Customize your team's responses with your unique approach to cannabis based on the newly released Hawaii Administrative Rules for medical marijuana following the Dispensary Application Alphabet.

  • Advertising, Strictly Prohibited. Execute a philanthropic approach by educating your community and potential patient base.
  • Building Selection. Modest sized buildings will accommodate the 6,000 plants per dispensary license limit.
  • Copy and Paste. Avoid the cookie cutter approach with inexperienced operational partners from under compliant state programs.
  • Dosing. Applicants must showcase the ability to produce manufactured products that contain 10 milligram serving sizes in 100-milligram packages.
  • Exit Strategy. Transfer and sale of permits are strictly prohibited. Plan how your group will cash investors and/or owners out.
  • Financials. Applicants must have a dedicated bank account with $1.2 million or more under the entities' control 90 days prior to application submission. Assumptions must be based on 300 days a year.
  • Gardening Techniques. Achieving a clean facility without utilizing pesticides. Products must not be labeled organic.
  • Hiring. Applicants should hire experienced professionals with operational experience in states with state-owned centralized tracking systems like Arizona.
  • Inventory Control. The department requires utilizing cloud-based software with departmental integration and control.
  • Joints Prohibited. Vape pens and marijuana cigarettes are not allowed, however, marijuana flower, oils, extracts, capsules, lozenges, tinctures, and topical ointments such as lotions are allowed.
  • Key Players. Build out a well-rounded team with applicable previous experience in medical marijuana compliance, agriculture, manufacturing, medical, retail, inventory controls, and security.
  • Licensing Agreements. Product lines cannot be imported or exported to other islands making statewide brand awareness impossible and limiting the value of national brand names.
  • Multiple Permits. Individuals will have to obtain multiple permits to operate a cannabis facility in Hawaii, however, each group will only be awarded one of the 8 dispensary licenses that will be awarded.
  • Natives. Hawaii residency requirements state that each applying entity must have 51% or more Hawaiian resident ownership.
  • Operating Agreement and Bylaws. Protect yourself and your interest by doing your due diligence and drafting solid agreements.
  • Partners Hedging Bets. Operational partners and/or consultants are taking on multiple applicants will ultimately reduce your chances of winning.
  • Packaging and Labeling. Must not appeal to children or include logos/ imagery.
  • Quality Control. Lab testing is required. All testing facilities will have to apply with the DPH and obtain a license to operate. 
  • Responses. Craft through answers that are substantive enough to stand alone without relying on exhibits and appendices.
  • Security and Transport. Solid protocols, multiple manifests, with routes that avoid federal arsenal, park or forest.
  • THC. The Administrative rules regarding the packaging and labeling of infused medical marijuana products are complex and can be misinterpreted in a real world implementation.
  • Unsuccessful Applicants. Can legally contest the licenses winners in a hearing may require defending parts of the application.
  • Vertically Integrated Licensees. Operationally the facilities must work together, however, dispensaries can't be located in production facility and production facilities have to be in separate buildings.
  • Wholesale and Exchanges Prohibited. Hawaii does not allow for a wholesale market.
  • Yields. Strategize on how to obtain the highest quality yields possible to plan for patient reciprocity in 2018.
  • Zig-Zags Prohibited. Dispensaries will not be allowed to sell paraphernalia thus encouraging licensees to take a truly medical patient centered approach.

For more information on marijuana business strategy contact Final Rules for an appointment by visiting


Related: DoH Posts Interim Administrative Rules For Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Who Santa Came Early For:

Lump of Coal: State to Dopers: Follow the Rules or the Police Will Get You


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