Hawaii Department of Health Posts Interim Administrative Rules for Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) posted interim administrative rules for the medical marijuana dispensary licensing program today. The rules can be found at the DOH’s medical marijuana website health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana under “Dispensary Updates.”

Medical Marijauan Registry

The interim rules are effective immediately and will remain in effect until July 1, 2018, or until rules are adopted pursuant to chapter 91 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS).

According to Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler, “The interim rules were written first and foremost to effectively implement the medical marijuana dispensary law and get the dispensary system up and running. The rules have also been drafted to ensure patient safety, product safety and public safety, and prevent marketing to our keiki. This product is intended to be used for registered patients who need it for medical purposes and the rules are written specifically to accomplish that goal.”

The interim rules explain: the criteria and process for awarding dispensary licenses; security requirements; the standards for certifying laboratories that will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the marijuana or manufactured marijuana products distributed at the retail dispensing locations; requirements for operating the dispensaries, including tracking each dispensary’s inventory of products from seed to sale or disposal; and other requirements.

To answer questions from potential applicants and the general public, DOH will post a “frequently asked questions” (FAQ) document on the medical marijuana website.

Anyone who has questions about the rules should send them in an email to DOH.MedMarijuanaDispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

The FAQ document will be updated with new questions and answers as often as possible. This updated FAQ document will be the sole method DOH uses to answer questions from the public so that the process for providing this information is as fair and transparent as possible.

The medical marijuana dispensary law, chapter 329D, HRS, allows DOH to award a total of eight licenses initially: three licenses for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations. The initial open application period for licensing begins Jan. 12, 2016 and closes on Jan. 29, 2016.

Department of Health Releases Interim Assessment of Response to Dengue Outbreak on Island of Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is releasing the Interim Assessment of the Response to the Dengue Outbreak on the Island of Hawaii provided to the State and County of Hawaii by Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH, director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Petersen’s assessment of current response efforts was conducted at the request of the State and County. The assessment is posted at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2015/12/CDC-Hawaii-assessment_final.pdf

Click to read

Click to read

“We thank Dr. Petersen and the CDC team that have been working with us on this dengue outbreak and their work on the interim assessment,” said Health Director Virginia Pressler, M.D. “The assessment moves us forward, providing a frank evaluation and recommendations. Clearly this outbreak is about more than the state health department, the county, or CDC –it’s about all of us. We must all fight the bite if we are to break the cycle of infection and protect ourselves.”

According to the 10-page report, the response by DOH to the ongoing outbreak has been timely, well considered, and appropriate. Coordination between State and County is excellent, and operations within Hawaii County are proceeding under an effective incident command structure at the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

All facets of a public health response to a dengue outbreak have been addressed adequately: community outreach, surveillance, diagnostic testing, medical care, and vector control. The report identifies two critical deficiencies that should be urgently addressed: communications and medical entomologic (entomology is the study of insects) capabilities.  “Communications capacity at the State Department of Health is inadequate,” notes Petersen.

He adds that the dengue outbreak overwhelmed the one full-time communications professional at DOH. A public relations firm was hired and CDC communications experts were brought in to assist with the ongoing outbreak.

Longer-term, hiring additional communications personnel is recommended.  Regarding entomologic capabilities the report states that the response to the outbreak has been hampered by a “lack of technical and general staffing capacity at the Department of Health”.

The report cautions that introductions of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and chikungunya are likely and will require entomologic expertise that does not currently exist in DOH. The report recommends restoring entomologic capacity lost in the DOH.

The report addresses both laboratory testing and the epidemiology capacities, highlighting a strong state lab capacity and stating the current laboratory testing protocols are state of the art and turn-around of results rapid. The report determined that the epidemiological response was timely and well considered but warns that current resources are taxed, and there is little surge capacity if another significant health event arises in the state.

Dr. Lyle Petersen and Hawaii County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliviera

Dr. Lyle Petersen and Hawaii County Civil Defense Chief Darryl Oliveira

The report concludes that the coordination of response efforts between DOH and county offices of Civil Defense, Fire, Parks & Recreation, and Public Works has been extremely well organized and serves as a model for others.

Introducing Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 83rd Recruit Class

The Hawaiʻi Police Department’s 83rd Recruit Class was recognized Tuesday (December 15) during ceremonies held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.

83rd Recruit Class—Back Row: Terence G. Scanlan Jr., Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Adam M. K. Cho, Jason W. K. Rabang, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Sheldon M. Adviento, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Conrad S. K. Iranon Front Row: Chad S. P. Sato, Tristin C. K. Allen, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Christopher R. Barto, Wilson A. Gani, Dayson K. Taniguchi, Bryson K. Pilor

83rd Recruit Class—Back Row: Terence G. Scanlan Jr., Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Adam M. K. Cho, Jason W. K. Rabang, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Sheldon M. Adviento, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Conrad S. K. Iranon Front Row: Chad S. P. Sato, Tristin C. K. Allen, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Christopher R. Barto, Wilson A. Gani, Dayson K. Taniguchi, Bryson K. Pilor (Click to Enlarge)

The police recruits, who just completed six months of intensive training, will undergo four months of on-the-job field training with veteran police officers before they are qualified to work alone. Class President Adam M.K. Cho said the recruits built a strong bond over the course of their training. They chose “Imua e nā ikaika Loa,” which means “The mighty push forward,” as their class motto. “This motto represents us with our motivation and drive for whatever was thrown our way,” Cho said.

During Tuesday’s ceremony, friends or family members pinned new police badges on each police recruit. Chief Harry Kubojiri described the badge as a symbol of public trust. “Keep it always shining as an example of your inner self,” he said.

Mayor Billy Kenoi noted that of the 2,500 county employees, only 400 are presented with a gun, a badge and the power to make arrests. With that, he said, comes “incredible responsibility.”

Circuit Court Judge Ronald Ibarra emphasized the importance of credibility, humility, courtesy, objectivity, awareness that the public is watching, expectation of the unexpected, and common sense.

Police Commissioner Robert Gomes, a retired police officer who continues working as a reserve officer, told the recruits it is “a great honor” to get into the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

The keynote speaker was Deputy Prosecutor Ricky Roy Damerville. He stressed that a member of the public who comes into contact with any police officer is a “future juror” who can form an opinion about police officers as a group. “Being polite pays off,” he said.

During the ceremony, three officers received special recognition for excellence. They were Terence G. Scanlan Jr., who received the academic award, Christopher R. Barto, who received the firearms award, and Bryson K. Pilor, who received the physical fitness award.

The other members of the 83rd Recruit Class are Sheldon M. Adviento, Tristin C. K. Allen, Joshua K. Baumgarner, Roger W. B. Carvalho Jr., Wilson A. Gani, Conrad S. K. Iranon, Brian H. Kohara, Chance K. K. Lunsford, Keenanlee K. P. Ouranitsas, Jason W. K. Rabang, Chad S. P. Sato, and Dayson K. Taniguchi.

4 More Confirmed Dengue Fever Cases Reported on the Big Island of Hawaii – 153 Total Confirmed

The Dengue Fever outbreak on the Big Island continues and the total confirmed amount of cases has risen by 4 more cases since the last update bringing the total amount of confirmed cases to 153.

Mosquito Bite

As of December 15, 2015*:

Hawaii Island residents 136
Visitors 17
Confirmed cases, TOTAL 153

Of the confirmed cases, 136 are Hawaii Island residents and 17 are visitors.
120 cases have been adults; 33 have been children (<18 years of age). Onset of illness has ranged between 9/11/15 – 12/8/15.

As of today, a total of 571 reported potential cases have been excluded based on test results and/or not meeting case criteria.

For a map of potential areas of infection by mosquito for confirmed dengue fever cases, click HERE**. (Updated December 9, 2015)

For Hawaii Island Dengue Fever Unified Command Updates, click HERE.  (Updated December 2, 2015)

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Hawaii Ranked in Bottom Five States for Economic Freedom

An extensive survey of economic freedom in the United States, Canada, and Mexico shows Hawaii as one of the five worst performing U.S. states, tied for 46th place with New Mexico. The report, Economic Freedom of North America, is published by the Fraser Institute and co-published by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the Aloha state’s free market think-tank.
economic freedomThe comparative survey of economic freedom is based on ten different factors in the areas of government spending, taxes, and labor market freedom. Overall, the report notes that economic freedom has been declining in North America as further constraints are added to the ability of individuals to act in the economic sphere. The localities with the best scores on the Index are Canadian, with New Hampshire coming in as the most economically free state.

Placement on the Index not only indicates comparative economic freedom in a region, but also economic success. The report notes a positive correlation between economic freedom and economic growth, per-capital size of the economy, and entrepreneurial activity. Per capita income also reflected the position on the Index, with the least free quartile having a average per-capita income nearly 8% below the national average, while the most-free quartile was almost 7% above it.

“Hawaii’s abysmal showing as one of the least economically free states in the U.S. is no surprise to those of us who have been advocating for change in the state,” said Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. “It is well-known that the burdensome regulation and taxation schemes of our state discourage investment and entrepreneurship–and are especially unwelcoming to small business.”

“With the legislative session nearly upon us, it is critical that we address the lack of economic freedom with new policies based on best practices and a focus on real reform,” Dr. Akina continued. “In the next month, the Grassroot Institute will be hosting a panel where we will discuss the necessary steps to making our state more economically free and in which we will release a special Hawaii supplement to the EFNA report. We will, of course, be inviting all legislators to join us for that event and we hope they will take advantage to learn more about the policies that can turn around the state’s economic performance.”

The Economic Freedom of North America can be viewed at:  http://www.freetheworld.com/efna.html