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How Hawaii's Cannabis Market is a Sleeping Giant

Hawaii’s cannabis market looks poised to exceed expectations. With the state allowing for a range of products to be sold, solventless production in Hawaii is already alluring and looks like it will gain in stature.

Currently, a lack of licensed medical operations exists across the islands. We believe that by getting involved with a solventless, clean, healthy, easy-to-use, minimal environmental impact process like rosin, your business could position itself as a leader in Hawaii’s burgeoning market.

Here are a few reasons to consider.

Will Hawaiian Cannabis Laws Allow Adult Use?

Let's start with Hawaii's cannabis laws. Like several other states in 2019, so far, Hawaii failed to legalize adult use cannabis in March. The latest iteration of a legalization bill did progress further than others. Yet, it was ultimately shot down by lawmakers who did not consider it in time for a deadline.

The March news did dash some hopes for Hawaii's law progression but did not end the expansion. Instead of an adult use law, state lawmakers approved of a decriminalization bill in early May. Under the bill, people in Hawaii found in possession of three grams or less would receive a $130 fine. The bill would also expunge criminal records for anyone prosecuted for three grams or less in Hawaii.

After passing both the House and Senate, the bill awaits the signature of Governor David Ige. So far, the Governor has shown some reluctance due to federal U.S. laws. "As I've talked to governors from other states who have gone to recreational [marijuana]. You know people assume that once it becomes recreational or decriminalized, that it's legal, and it's not legal by federal law. And I think that becomes the confusion, and that's always been my concern."

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A Rising Medical Cannabis Market in Hawaii

While the debate continues over adult use laws, the state's medical program has produced positive results in recent months. That includes seeing its patient roll grow 17% in 2018. As of February 2019, more than 20,000 patients over 18 years old were enrolled in the program. Adult patients enrolled mostly for severe pain followed by persistent muscle spasms and PTSD. Minors were mostly treated for seizures, PTSD and epilepsy.

Hawaii's most-populated county is Honolulu and represents the most registered patients at just a few hundred patients short of 10,000. As of this winter, nearly 10,000 patients were registered in Honolulu County, home to the most-populated and highly frequented destination Oahu. Hawaii County was home to nearly 6,700 patients. Smaller yet sizable numbers were reported in Maui (5,297) and Kauai (>2,000) as well.

Reciprocity Offers Hawaiian Cannabis to Visitors

In-state patient numbers show that Hawaii's medical market continues to move in a positive direction. While significant, the state's decision to allow medical cannabis reciprocity could prove to be a boom for the market and its already successful tourism industry.

In March, lawmakers approved a measure which allows out-of-state patients to apply for a license to purchase medical cannabis in Hawaii. Patients can apply for up to two 60-day licenses each calendar year. Online approval is available as well to expedite the process. Applicants can also request a specific start date for the start of their license. A $49.50 application fee is required. Visit the state Department of Health for more information.

A Booming Tourist Market Getting Bigger

Hawaii's tourism market is immense. A January 2019 press release from the Hawaii Tourism Authority found that visitors to the Hawaiian Islands spent $17.82 billion in 2018, up 6.8% from the year before. The industry supports 217,000 jobs across the islands while 9.9 million people visit the island each year.

Now add medical cannabis reciprocity to the equation. On its own, Hawaii is one of the premier tourism destinations in the world. Now, patients in need of flower or Hawaiian cannabis concentrates can now do so. These two factors are sure to combine and generate even more revenue for the state’s tourism industry. The impact of rosin in Hawaii could be immense as patients get the medicine they require while the island’s revenue stream grows as well.

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Most CBD Sales Remain Prohibited 

Despite adult use bills not advancing once again, Hawaii offers a largely positive outlook for cannabis regulations and the state's market. That said, another form of cannabis remains stuck in a grey area.

CBD continues to puzzle many on the islands. So much so that the Hawaii Department of Health issued an early May statement reiterating that CBD has never been permitted for sales unless a prescription is provided. The DoH cited current U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules for its decision.

It’s Time to Go Solventless in Hawaii

We believe that the success of rosin in Hawaii is not too far away. With regulations continually shifting towards expanded access, Hawaiians and qualified visitors can participate in a medical market that show signs of growth. Patients are able to apply ahead of time and, when they arrive, purchase an array of treatment products.

Factors like reciprocity, a growing patient list and an assortment of products give Hawaii the chance to serve scores of patients in need. At the same time, businesses can grow and so can this needed market. Residual effects like additional support to the tourism industry only make this prospect that much more alluring for Hawaii.

While we can’t guarantee adult use is sure to come, the signs indicate that Hawaii is a booming market. Contact us today to learn more about how to get your licensed medical business going.