By Steve Elliott
Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Wednesday signed House Bill 321, legalizing and establishing a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for 15 years, but patients haven't had an official place to buy their medicine. Instead, they had to grow their own cannabis, or had a caretaker do it for them, reports Anita Hofschneider at Civil Beat.
The bill will also stop counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and marijuana production centers, reports Jamilia Epping at Big Island Now.
“I support the establishment of dispensaries to ensure that qualified patients can legally and safely access medical marijuana,” the Governor said said. “We know that our challenge going forward will be to adopt rules that are fair, cost effective and easy to monitor.
"The bill sets a timeline," Gov. Ige said. "We will make a good faith effort to create a fair process that will help the people most in need.”
HB 321, now Act 241, creates the framework for a dispensary system that would allow up to 16 dispensaries statewide by July 15, 2016.