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Web-based Software to Track Inventory and Sales at Medical Marijuana Dispensaries – Request for Proposals Issued

The Hawaii State Department of Health will deploy a web-based system that will provide 24/7 access to real-time data on medical marijuana inventory, sales, and other tracking information required of dispensary licensees statewide, according to Keith Ridley, Chief of the Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance.

Medical Marijuana

The Office of Health Care Assurance performs all state licensing activities on healthcare facilities, agencies and organizations in Hawaii, and is tasked with implementing Act 241, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2015 and became section 329D, HRS. Under the new program, a dispensary licensee may begin dispensing medical marijuana and manufactured marijuana products to qualifying patients or primary caregivers no earlier than July 15, 2016, with the department’s approval.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued on Nov. 19, 2015. The notice of award of contract for the computer software tracking system is expected to be made by Dec. 23, 2015.

“This is another major step forward to implement the medical marijuana program to ensure access for Hawaii patients and caregivers,” Ridley said. “After researching various options, the department determined a web-based software system would be the most effective and user-friendly way for licensees and state officials to collect and report seed-to-sale tracking information to ensure public safety and patient safety, and licensees will be required to utilize a tracking system. We are also exploring how other entities such as law enforcement officers or laboratories can also securely access the information.”

Detailed Inventory, Disposal, and Sales Information

The system will be used to track products from seed to sale or disposal, and will collect detailed inventory and sales information such as:

  • The total amount of marijuana at each dispensary, in the form of seeds or plants, including all plants that are derived from cuttings or cloning, until the marijuana, marijuana plants, or manufactured marijuana products are sold or destroyed;
  • The total amount of manufactured marijuana product inventory, including the equivalent physical weight of marijuana that is used to manufacture marijuana products or purchased by a qualifying patient and primary caregiver from all retail dispensing locations in any 15-day day period;
  • The amount of unused plant material produced by each plant at harvest; and
  • The transport of marijuana and manufactured marijuana products between production centers and retail dispensing locations, including tracking identification issued by the tracking system, the identity of the person transporting the marijuana or manufactured marijuana products, and how the products are transported.


Under the new law, a total of eight licenses may be awarded. Three licenses may be issued 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 stations for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensaries statewide. Each production center may have up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

The Request for Proposals is available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana under Dispensary Updates.

Hawaii State Senators Confirm Three Judicial Nominees in Special Session

In unanimous floor votes, members of the Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed District Court judge Shirley M. Kawamura to the First Circuit Court and District Family Court judge Melvin H. Fujino to the Third Circuit. The full Senate also confirmed James C. McWhinnie to the District Court of the First Circuit.

“Each of these nominees came to us with high marks for their qualifications and character and strong testimony in support of their appointments,” said Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran (Dist. 5 -Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului), chair of the Judiciary and Labor Committee. “The experience and integrity they each bring to the bench will be a benefit to our judicial system.”

Kawamura has served as a presiding District Court judge on O‘ahu since being appointed in May 2012.  She is a former commercial and insurance defense litigator at Kawashima Lorusso, LLP and previously worked as a senior felony trial deputy at the Office of the Public Defender. Kawamura is a 1994 graduate of Brown University and 1997 graduate of the Stanford Law School. Kawamura will serve for a term of ten years.

 L-R Dr. Howard Fujino, Leonora Fujino, Kelly Kitaoka, Judge Melvin Fujino.

L-R Dr. Howard Fujino, Leonora Fujino, Kelly Kitaoka, Judge Melvin Fujino.

Fujino has served as a presiding judge with the District Family Court of the Third Circuit since 2008. Since April 2015, he has been assigned to sit as a temporary Circuit Court Judge in Kona. Prior to his appointment to the District Family Court Bench, Fujino worked as Deputy Attorney General where he was a team leader responsible for the Statewide Wiretap Review Unit and Asset Forfeiture program. Fujino was also a District Prosecuting Attorney for Hawai‘i County. Fujino is a 1981 graduate of the University of Washington and 1985 graduate of the Gonzaga University School of Law. Fujino will serve for a term of 10 years.

James McWhinnie has been the Director and Attorney with Damon Key Long Kupchak Hastert specializing in civil litigation. Since being first appointed in 1998 by Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, McWhinnie has continued to serve on the Hawai‘i Supreme Court’s Special Committee on Judicial Performance. McWhinnie has served on the Hawai’i State Bar Association (HSBA) Fee Dispute Committee, been a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section, and co-founded the HSBA’s Lawyer Kokua Program, which was developed to assist new members of the Hawai`i Bar. McWhinnie is a graduate of St. Mary’s University and has an MBA from the University of Hawai‘i, College of Business Administration.  He is a 1983 graduate of DePaul University College of Law.  McWhinnie will serve for a term of six years.


Governor David Ige transmitted the appointments of Kawamoto and Fujino to the Senate on October 21, 2015.  Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald transmitted the appointment of McWhinnie to the Senate on October 22, 2015.

Pursuant to Article VI, Section 3 of the Constitution of the State of Hawai‘i, the Senate had thirty days to consent to the appointments, or reject them.

Community Meeting with Lawmakers Draws Large Attendance in Puna

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and leaders from the Hawaii State House of Representatives held a Lawmakers Listen session at the Pahoa Community Center last night where they heard a wide range of concerns from residents in the area. Puna Meeting

Discussions at the meeting were on a number of topics including managing invasive species, the rat lungworm parasite, homelessness, medical care, the public hospital system, infrastructure concerns, and the lack of broadband internet service in the region.

Puna Meeting 3Members of the community were invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. San Buenaventura, Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki, Majority Leader Scott Saiki, and House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke. The group was also joined by Hamakua Representative Mark Nakashima. Puna Meeting 2

‘Lawmakers Listen’ is an ongoing series of community town halls across the state with district Representatives, members of the House Leadership, and Committee Chairpersons.  The purpose of the meetings is for legislators to listen to the concerns of area residents and to discuss solutions.

Rep. San Buenaventura Hosting Community Meeting With House Leadership in Pahoa

A community meeting hosted by Representative Joy San Buenaventura and joined by State House leadership and Big Island representatives will be held on Thursday, November 5, 2015 from 5pm – 7pm at the Pahoa Community Center.
Joy Meeting
Representatives that are scheduled to appear and hear feedback on issues that matter to their constituents are:

  • Rep. Joy San Buenaventura
  • House Speaker Joe Souki
  • Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader Scott Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader Cindy Evans
  • Finance Chair Sylvia Luke
  • Rep. Mark Nakashima
  • Rep. Richard Creagan

The Community Center is located at 15-3016 Kauhale Street in Pahoa.

Lawmakers Visit Big Island – Focus on Agriculture, Medical Care and Economic Development

Members of the House Finance Committee, chaired by Representative Sylvia Luke, toured various sites on Hawaii Island to view first hand several projects and programs supported by the Legislature. The site visits provided committee members first hand insight into the status of ongoing projects and on other needs of the district.

House Finance Committee visits Waimea.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

House Finance Committee visits Waimea. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Representatives Richard Onishi and Nicole Lowen who serve on the Finance Committee were joined by fellow Big Island lawmakers Clift Tsuji, Mark Nakashima, Cindy Evans and Richard Creagan on a wide range of activities that included a status update and site visit of Hilo Medical Center.

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm.  Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

Committee members visit Ookala Dairy Farm. Photos Courtesy of House Majority Communications

The committee visited Hamakua Mushrooms, Ookala Dairy Farm, Big Island Beef and met with Kamuela farmers to discuss and learn about their issues and concerns.  The legislators also received a briefing by Hawaiian Homestead farmers participating in the Waimea Regional Community and Economic Development Program.

In Kona the committee toured projects at the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii including the Taylor Shell Fish Farm and Cyanotech.

Community Forum on Invasive Species and Plant Pest Issues in West Hawaii

Hawaii House Representative Nicole Lowen is hosting a public forum for West Hawaii residents on Tuesday, November 10th to learn more about invasive species issues that are affecting homes, agriculture, and native forests on Hawaii Island.


Topics will include fire ants, coqui frogs, coffee berry borer beetle, ohia wilt, and other invasive species and plant pest issues.

A panel of experts will include representatives from the Department of Agriculture, the Invasive Species Council, the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species, and the University of Hawaii. Panelists will each give a brief presentation, followed by an opportunity for moderated questions from the audience.

Panelist include: Neil J. Reimer, Ph.D., Robert T. Curtiss, Christy Martin, J.B. Friday Ph.D., and Springer Kaye and will be held at the West Hawaii Civic Center – Council Chambers (Building A) from 6:00p.m. – 7:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 5:30.

Green Rush, Gold Standard: A Conversation About Hawai‘i’s Cannabis Frontier

State Senator Will Espero  will be a panelist for a discussion about the potential benefits from Hawai‘i’s cannabis business, including solutions, economic activity and career opportunities. The dialogue will also cover how residents can participate in the new industry.

Medical MarijuanaThe panel discussion, moderated by ThinkTech Hawai‘i’s Jay Fidell, will be held on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Moot Court Room, 2015 Dole Street.  Other panelists include Mitzi Vaughn, member of the National Cannabis Industry Association and on the founding board of the National Cannabis Bar Association, Tyler Anthony, Attorney and Former Regulator with the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program, Dr. Marc Kruger, Honolulu Pulmonologist, and Jari Sugano, Family Caregiver.

The public is invited to attend.

Officials to Brief Legislators on Progress of Medical Marijuana Dispensary System

Officials to Brief Joint Committees on Progress of Medical Marijuana Dispensary System

Medical MarijuanaThe purpose of this informational briefing is to discuss the process and progress on the implementation of Act 241, relating to medical marijuana, and to discuss best practices and identify areas of further policy development related to medical marijuana dispensaries.

Part I of this briefing will include an update from the State Department of Health on the medical marijuana registry program and the Department’s efforts to implement Act 241.  Invitees from the Department of Health are as follows:

  • Virginia Pressler, M.D., Director, Department of Health
  • Danette Wong Tomiyasu, Deputy Director, Health Resources Administration and/or a Designated representatives of the Hawaii Department of Health.

Part II of this briefing will feature presentations from the following individuals who have extensive experience with the development of legislation, rules and regulations, and public policy related to the cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing of medical marijuana to qualified patients in other states:

  • Graham Boyd, Esq., Former Fellow, Third Way
  • Robert Morgan, Esq., Former Statewide Project Coordinator, Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program; & Special Counsel, Much Shelist, P.C.
  • Tyler Anthony, Esq., Former Legal Counsel, Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program; & Attorney, Harris Moure
  • Mitzi Vaughn, Esq., Founding Board Member, National Cannabis Bar Association; & Managing Attorney, Greenbridge Corporate Counsel

WHO:             House Committee on Health Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health

WHAT:          Informational Briefing

WHEN:          Thursday, October 22, 2015 – 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:       Conference Room 329, State Capitol

State Representative Recovering After Successful Surgery for Skin Cancer

State Representative Clift Tsuji underwent successful Mohs micrographic surgery this month for skin cancer.


State Representative Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea)

The specialized procedure’s published cure rates range up to 99% for previously untreated cancers, and was performed on an outpatient basis at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu in August.

“One becomes more aware of the lack of specialized surgeons on the Big Island when such a delicate procedure is necessary,” said Rep. Tsuji. “I truly believe we have amongst the best of health care providers and facilities. Unfortunately, in such procedures as mine, the surgery must be performed by a surgeon in Honolulu.”

Tsuji added, “I am aware that keeping healthy is very important. But also as a public official, I’m committed to serve our community under various conditions. I will continuously strive to do both.”

The prognosis for the Big Island lawmaker is favorable and he is resuming full activity and work schedule.

Hawaii Good Government Groups Announce 2015 “Rusty Scalpel” Winner

The League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii have identified HB 15, CD 1 (Act 173, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015) “Relating to Elections” as their 2015 “Rusty Scalpel” winner.  The “Rusty Scalpel” recognizes enactment of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for public input and legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution.

Click to view bill

Click to view bill

The Hawaii Constitution sets procedures for enactment of new laws.  The purpose of these procedures is to facilitate public participation and to discourage “fraud” and “logrolling”.  Article III, Section 14 provides “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”

In plain English, our Legislature is NOT supposed to pass a bill which addresses 2 or more unrelated subjects.  Article III, Section 15 provides that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.”  In plain English, our Legislature is NOT supposed to pass a bill whose subject has not had three separate readings in the State House and three separate readings in the State Senate.

During the 2015 session, the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii identified more than 20 bills which did not comply with Article III, Section 14 and/or Article III, Section 15.  The 2015 Legislature actually passed seven bills whose subjects did not receive 3 readings in both the House and Senate. (These are Acts 104, 118, 126, 142, 173, 186 and HB 540, CD 1 which was vetoed.) From these seven “candidates”, the League and Common Cause Hawaii have selected Act 173, Session Laws of Hawaii 2015, for our 2015 “Rusty Scalpel” award because:

  1. Act 173 addresses three unrelated subjects (absentee ballot procedures, terms of Election Commission Chair, evaluation of Chief Elections Officer).
  2. One subject of Act 173 (terms of Election Commission) did not have either 3 readings or      a public hearing in the House.
  3. Another subject of Act 173 (evaluation of Chief Elections Officer) did not have 3 readings or a public hearing in either the House or the Senate.

Last year the League and Common Cause chose Act 81, SLH 2014, for our 2014 “Rusty Scalpel” award.  The subject of Act 81 (which authorized the Hawaii Tourism Authority to acquire a conservation easement at Turtle Bay using revenue bonds amortized with hotel tax revenues) did not have 3 readings or a public hearing in either the House or the Senate.  This year the League and Common Cause are pleased to report that the Legislature followed appropriate procedures, and held numerous public hearings, before passing legislation to clarify, replace, and “fix” Act 81.

Statement of Support on Senator Harimoto

State Senator Breene Harimoto, 61, (16th Senatorial District – Pearl City, Momilani, Pearlridge, Aiea, Royal Summit, Aiea Heights, Newtown, Waimalu, Halawa, Pearl Harbor) has recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. 

Senator Breene Harimoto

Senator Breene Harimoto

Under the advice and care of his physicians, Senator Harimoto will soon be undergoing treatment. 

“Senator Harimoto is a valued member of our Senate body and a friend to all of us here at the Legislature.  Our thoughts are with Senator Harimoto and his family, and we wish him a speedy recovery” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.

Senator Harimoto has expressed his appreciation for the outpouring of Aloha, and asks for privacy and prayers for himself as well as for his family in the coming weeks. 

Hemp Harvested Legally in Hawaii for First Time

The first stalk of legal hemp in Hawaii was harvested today.
Hemp in HawaiiHawaii Representative Chris Lee tweeted, “Harvesting the very first stalk of hemp in Hawaii. Uses less water, 100% organic, tremendous economic commodity

Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus Commends Governor for New Laws to Protect Women and Families

Measures signed into law provide security, protection against

Governor Ige today signed a package of bills into law which are measures that were introduced or advocated for by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus at the beginning of the 2015 Legislative Session.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications  (L to R: Sen. Laura Thielen, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Gov. David Ige, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Rep. Cynthia Thielen)

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications (L to R: Sen. Laura Thielen, Rep. Lynn DeCoite, Sen. Rosalyn Baker, Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Gov. David Ige, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Rep. Cynthia Thielen)

A total of six measures were enacted and two resolutions adopted by the Legislature this session that provide protection for victims of domestic violence, improve reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assaults, and makes an effort to reduce violence and sexual assaults on college campuses and restore public trust of Hawai‘i’s law enforcement community.

“The Women’s Legislative Caucus is pleased with the bills enacted this session. Having the Governor’s recognition and support for these measures is critically important as we strive to empower survivors of domestic violence and work towards improving the lives of women and families across the state,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Mānoa).

“We appreciate the support from the Governor on these sound legislative policies we believe will improve the health and well-being of women, children and families throughout our State,” said Sen. Laura Thielen (Kailua, Lanikai, Enchanted Lake, Keolu Hills, Maunawili, Waimānalo, Hawai‘i Kai, Portlock). “The efforts of the Caucus this past session show how together we can create stronger communities.”

The bills signed into law are:

HB538 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Act 219)


Requires wireless telecommunications service providers to release domestic violence victims from shared service plans upon request and with documentation.  Authorizes the family court to order wireless providers to transfer billing authority for or release domestic violence victims from shared service plans upon petition by a victim.

HB858 HD2 SD2 CD1 (Act 220)


Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.  Specifies additional procedures under the residential landlord-tenant code for instances of domestic violence.

SB226 SD2 HD1 (Act 221)


Adds the definition of “business day” to the offense of abuse of a family or household member.  Repeals the 48-hour no contact provision and specifies that the period of separation a police officer orders for the person whom the police officer reasonably believes to have inflicted the abuse of a family or household member commences when the order is issued and expires at 6:00 p.m. on the second business day following the day the order was issued.

SB387 SD2 HD3 CD1 (Act 222)


Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

SB388 HD1 (Act 30)


Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

HB448 (Act 203)


Requires the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides.  Authorizes DOH to enter into memoranda of understanding to obtain information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner violence.

HR19 and SR9 are resolutions introduced by the Women’s Legislative Caucus which received bi-partisan support and were adopted at the end of the 2015 Legislative Session.


Requests the State Department of Defense to establish and fund a Veteran Women Services Coordinator position with the Office of Veterans’ Services


Requests the Honolulu Police Department to establish a family violence unit staffed with officers specifically trained to handle all complaints of family violence.

Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus

The Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus consists of female members from both the state Senate and House. Senators Rosalyn Baker and Suzanne Chun Oakland and Representatives Della Au Belatti and Cynthia Thielen serve as co-chairs of the Caucus. This year’s package of bills introduced by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus was dedicated to the Women’s Coalition in recognition of their commitment and advocacy for women and girls.

New Law Helps Children Born With Facial Abnormalities

The measure signed into law today by Governor Ige dramatically impacts the lives of several dozen Hawaii families that include children born with cleft palates or other facial abnormalities.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

Anya Maga with Governor Ige and Reps. Gregg Takayama (bill introducer), Della Au Belatti, and Henry Aquino.

In Hawaii, approximately one in every 500 babies is born with what is called an “orofacial anomaly.”  For example, between 2007 and 2012, 61 babies were born with a cleft lip or palate and 83 were born with other craniofacial defects at the Kapiolani Medical Center.

Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Health Committee Chair, said it’s crucial to correct these defects, not just for visual appearance, but because this condition affects basic functions such as eating, chewing, speech and breathing.  The complicated treatment to correct these kinds of birth defects usually requires multiple surgeries ranging from about $5,700 to $20,000 or more.

House Bill 174, introduced by Rep. Gregg Takayama (D-Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades), requires health insurers to cover such orthodontic treatment, as do 16 other states.

“For families whose children have a cleft lip and palate, the range of medical, dental and other services can exceed $100,000 from birth until late adolescence,” testified Eileen Matsumoto, a registered nurse for more than 35 years.

The cost of reconstructive surgery is covered by medical insurance but not the full cost of the medically necessary orthodontic procedures required to prepare for these surgeries, which usually amount to more than $10,000 over a child’s lifetime.

These treatment costs are already fully covered by Med-QUEST for poor families but not by private health insurers for Hawaii’s working families.

The State Legislative Auditor reports the cost to all policyholders would be minimal – probably increasing premiums by two cents to four cents per member per month, based on the experiences of California and Massachusetts.

The measure has been called “Anya’s Law” after one of its active supporters, 6-year-old Anya Maga, who testified for the measure along with her parents, who are residents of East Honolulu.

Senator Ruderman Hosting Talk Story Sessions

Senator Russell Ruderman is hosting talk story sessions to discuss the outcome of the 2015 legislative session and how some of the new legislation will affect you and the community.

Senator RudermanIdeas and issues for next year’s legislative session will also be discussed.

  • Pahoa Community Center – Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, Kauhale Street, Pahoa
  • Cooper Center – Thursday, June 4th, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, 19-4030 Wright Rd, Volcano Village

Light refreshments will be served.

For more information call Senator Ruderman’s Office @808-586-6890 or email: senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov

Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Final Reading – Dispensaries in Hawaii Next Step

On the last day of the 2015 regular session, the House passed on final reading HB321, CD1, which creates a statewide distribution system for medical marijuana and establishes the parameters for individuals and entities to apply to set up the dispensaries. Medical Marijuana

“There are an estimated 13,000 qualifying patients throughout the state who are desperately looking to find a safe, reliable and convenient access to medical marijuana.  This bill is a reasonable and compassionate response to the needs of our citizens,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully Pawaa, Manoa), who co-introduced the bill along with House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).  Both are long-time supporters of medical marijuana dispensaries.

“While the Legislature made legal the medical use of marijuana on June 14, 2000, the law has remained silent for 15 years on how patients can obtain medical marijuana if they or their caregivers are unable to grow their own supply,” Souki added.  “There has been a desperate need for a safe and reliable dispensary system statewide for medical marijuana for a long time.  This bill finally answers that need.”

The measure follows closely the recommendations of the Task Force commissioned by the Legislature in 2013 to study the implementation of medical marijuana dispensaries.  It also provides for opportunities to improve the system and correct any shortcomings on a go-forward basis.

The bill, which also passed the Senate, now goes to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.


  • Allows for eight (8) dispensary licensees in the state: three (3) on Oahu, two (2) on Big Island and two (2) on Maui County; one (1) on Kauai;
  • Each licensee may own, operate or subcontract up to two production centers and up to two retail dispensing locations; prohibits dispensary from being located in same place as production center;
  • Requires the Department of Health to engage in public education and training regarding medical marijuana;
  • Requires the Department of Health to adopt interim rules by Jan. 4, 2016, for the establishment and management of the medical marijuana dispensary system;
  • Tasks the Department of Health with accepting applications for dispensary licenses from Jan. 12, 2016, to Jan. 29, 2016, and announcing licensees by April 15, 2016;
  • Tasks the Department of Health to select licensees based on minimum requirements and merit based factors including: the capacity to meet the needs of patients; ability to comply with criminal background checks, inventory controls, and security requirements; ability to operate a business; and financial stability and access to financial resources;
  • Allows the Department of Health to license additional operators after Oct. 1, 2017, based on qualifying patient need;
  • Dispensaries must comply with all zoning regulations and will not be permitted within 750 ft. of a playground, public housing or school;
  • Licensees may begin dispensing marijuana and manufactured marijuana products on July 15, 2016, with the approval of the Department of Health;
  • Licensed applicants must pay (a) $5,000 non-refundable application fee, (b) an additional $75,000 fee for each license approved, and (c) a $50,000 annual renewal fee;
  • Establishes the criteria for license applications to require that an individual applicant: be a legal resident of the State for not less than five years, be over the age of 21, and have no felony convictions;
  • Establishes the minimum criteria for license applications to require that an entity applicant: be organized under the laws of the state and have a Hawaii tax ID number, have a 51 percent or greater Hawaii based ownership stake, have at least $1,000,000 under its control for each license applied for with an additional $100,000 available for each retail dispensing location;
  • Imposes regular general excise taxes onto the sale of marijuana and manufactured products within the dispensary system and does not include any additional taxes;
  • Allows qualifying patients to obtain medical marijuana from primary caregivers who cultivate or by personally cultivating marijuana until Dec. 31, 2018;
  • Allows a primary caregiver or legal guardian to cultivate marijuana after Dec. 31, 2018, if qualifying patient is a minor or adult lacking legal capacity or who is located on any island with no dispensary;
  • Expands the definition of “debilitating medical condition” for the purpose of authorizing use to include post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • Expands the Department of Health’s authority to conduct criminal background checks;
  • Requires dispensaries to allow announced and unlimited unannounced inspections and to conduct annual financial audits; and
  • Requires the Department of Health to file annual report to Governor and Legislature on dispensaries.

Additional details of the measure can be found in the bill text and the committee report at the links below:

Hawaii State Senate Reorganizes Committees – Big Island Senators Elected to Key Positions

The Hawai‘i State Senate today announced a new line up of committees and committee chairs as part of its recent reorganization.


“This new alignment is consistent with our policy of making the best use of our members’ skills and interests,” said Senate President, Sen. Ronald Kouchi (Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau). “We believe these assignments will make us more effective as a body moving forward.”

The following are the new committee assignments:

Consumer Protection (CPN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Rosalyn Baker
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Michelle Kidani

Economic Development and Technology (EDT)

  • Chair: Sen. Glenn Wakai
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Sam Slom

Education (EDU)

  • Chair:  Sen. Michelle Kidani
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto

Hawaiian Affairs (HWN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Maile Shimabukuro
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Higher Education and the Arts (HEA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Brian Taniguchi
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Gilbert Kahele

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brickwood Galuteria

Judiciary and Labor (JDL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Maile Shimabukuro

Public Safety, Government Operations and Military Affairs (PSM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Clarence Nishihara
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Will Espero

Tourism (TSI)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gilbert Kahele
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Transportation and Energy (TRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Lorraine Inouye
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard

Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Clarence Nishihara

Ways and Means (WAM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Jill Tokuda
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

In addition, Senate Leadership has assigned Sen. Laura Thielen the chair of the Committee on Health and the Environment (HEV) and Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland the chair and Sen. Donna Mercado Kim as Vice Chair of the Committee on Human Services (HMS). These assignments are awaiting confirmation.  Sen. Rosalyn Baker has been confirmed as Vice Chair of HEV.

The new confirmed committee assignments will take effect immediately.

As the Senate reorganizes, members of Senate leadership will not act as committee chairs. This division of duties allows the Senate to more broadly balance and distribute power within this chamber and better respond to the needs of our state. Senate leadership will be as follows:

  • Senate President: Sen. Ronald Kouchi
  • Senate Vice President: Sen. Will Espero
  • Majority Leader: Sen. J. Kalani English
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Josh Green
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

Hawaii House of Reps Passes Bills on Final Reading

As the close of session quickly approaches, the House today approved bills that address a wide range of issues, including extending the rail tax for another five years, funding the Turtle Bay land purchase, and approving the state budget.


Other significant measures that passed final reading in the House included increasing the tax state credit for low-income residents; providing additional funds for preschool for low-income families; requiring health insurers to provide coverage for children with autism; making sex trafficking a Class A felony; and establishing an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

“The House took on some tough issues relating to the rail tax, Turtle Bay and the Maui public hospitals, and worked collaboratively with the Administration and the Senate to come up with sound and reasonable solutions,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).

“We also crafted a responsible budget that addressed our long-term obligations and took care of our immediate social services needs and capital improvement requirements.”

HB500, CD1, the state budget bill, appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium, fiscal years FY2015-2016 and FY2016-2017, will now go to the Governor for his signature.  The bill includes nearly $6.6 billion in general funds for FY2015-2016 and $6.862 billion in general funds for FY2016-2017.

In crafting the budget, House Finance Chair Rep. Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa) looked to create a “better budget” in four ways, by: (1) limiting growth in the budget, (2) fueling economic growth through selective tax credits, (3) investing in people who need help the most, and (4) reducing the state’s unfunded liabilities and building up its Rainy Day funds.

Earlier, the House passed and sent on to the Governor a bill that raised the smoking age in Hawaii to 21 that put the state in the lead in national efforts to prevent nicotine addiction.  The bill also banned the sale and use of e-cigarettes in public places to anyone under 21.

Highlights of the measures passed include:


SB64, CD1, makes an appropriation of $6,000,000 for the Preschool Open Doors Program.

HB820, CD1, establishes the Executive Office on Early Learning Public Prekindergarten Program to be administered by the Executive Office on Early Learning and provided through Department of Education public schools and public charter schools.

HB11, CD1, authorizes an additional per year bonus for teachers who maintain current national board certification under the national board certification incentive program and teach at a school in a focus, priority, or Superintendent’s Zone, as determined by the Department of Education.

SB1345, CD1, requires the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools and report to the Legislature regarding the plan and any proposed legislation. Appropriates funds to the Department of Education for the development of a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools.

SB854, CD1, requires public school lands that are leased to benefit public educational purposes rather than simply to be used for public purposes. Authorizes the Department of Education to enter into leaseback agreements.

SB374, CD1, renames the “running start program” as the “dual credit program”. Broadens participation to include ninth and tenth graders. Broadens participation to include home-schooled students for courses offered on University of Hawaii campuses. Replaces a standardized test with an assessment. Repeals tuition and fees requirement.


SB273, CD1, requires the examiner of drivers to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person’s address. Requires the Director of Transportation’s rules to direct the examiner of drivers to waive all fees for original or renewal identification cards for homeless individuals upon verification of homeless status. Establishes a working group to develop a plan to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.


SB964, CD1, appropriates $3,000,000 for the Kupuna Care Program.


SB1028, CD1, appropriates $2,000,000 for the operations of the Hawaii Health Connector.

HB576, CD1, narrows the scope of work of the State Innovation Waiver Task Force to facilitate the development of an Affordable Care Act waiver in a timely manner.

SB1117, CD1, makes an emergency appropriation of $15,000,000 to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

SB1291, CD1, prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

SB791, CD1, requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

HB631, CD1, establishes the documentation required when requesting the Department of Health to issue a new birth certificate with a sex designation change.


SB387, CD1, establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

HB553, CD1, allows part-time and full-time graduate student assistants employed by UH to collectively bargain their wages, hours, and other terms; provided that no collective bargaining agreement shall take effect prior to July 1, 2016. Requires UH and the relevant exclusive representatives to meet and report to the Legislature.

HB547, CD1, requires the University of Hawaii to provide guidance to students to increase the rate of on-time graduation through a Graduation Pathway System. Appropriates funds for the Graduation Pathway System and to the John A. Burns School of Medicine for repairs.

HB541, CD1, requires each UH campus to prepare an operations plan, to be reviewed by the President and VP for Budget and Finance and CFO of UH, for each fiscal year. Requires the moneys in the UH Tuition and Fees Special Fund for each UH campus to lapse to the credit of Program ID No. UOH900 (University of Hawaii, system wide support)


HB448, CD1, requires the Department of Health (DOH) to conduct reviews of domestic violence, near-deaths, and suicides, in addition to fatalities. Authorizes DOH to enter into memoranda of understanding to obtain information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner violence.

HB436, CD1, amends the definition of “emergency vehicle” to include sheriff division vehicles, Hawaii emergency management agency vehicles, civil defense vehicles, DOT harbors division vehicles, DLNR division of conservation and resources enforcement vehicles, and county emergency management vehicles to require approaching vehicles to slow and change lanes when nearing the emergency vehicle when it is stopped for official duties.

SB265, CD1, replaces the term “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking,” a Class A felony.  Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General’s statewide witness program and adds various other amendments relating to sex trafficking.

SB1211, CD1, increases the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys. Increases the ceiling for additional funds required for matching federal disaster relief funds.  Requires the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure. Appropriates funds for deposit into the Major Disaster Fund.

SB871, CD1, authorizes the Director of Transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another country or state, under certain conditions. Authorizes the examiner of drivers to waive the demonstration of the ability to operate a motor vehicle for individuals with licenses from other jurisdictions who receive reciprocal licensing privileges. Repeals the driver’s license reciprocity committee.


HB444, CD1, authorizes the use of a portion of transient accommodations tax revenues for beach restoration and conservation. Makes additional general fund appropriations for the same purpose for fiscal years 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

SB284, CD1, authorizes the B&F to issue $35,000,000 in reimbursable general obligation bonds and to deposit the proceeds into the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement Special Fund. Appropriates $35,000,000 out of the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement Special Fund for the DLNR to acquire a conservation easement and other real property interests at Turtle Bay, Oahu. Allocates TAT revenues of $1,500,000 annually to the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement Special Fund. Provides that a nonprofit land conservation organization shall file an application annually with the BLNR requesting $1,500,000 from the Land Conservation Fund to be used for the reimbursement of debt service on the Turtle Bay reimbursable general obligation bonds. Appropriates $3,000,000 out of the Turtle Bay Conservation Easement Special Fund to reimburse the state general fund for payment of debt service on the reimbursable general obligation bonds.

SB359, CD1, applies the state environmental response, energy, and food security tax to fossil fuels other than petroleum products and bases the tax on one million British thermal units. Removes the sunset of the various funds related to the barrel tax. Clarifies the purposes for which the environmental response revolving fund may be used. Provides for the transfer of moneys from the environmental response revolving fund into the general fund. Requires the Director of Health to report to the Legislature information regarding the environmental response revolving fund.


HB573, CD1, establishes and appropriates funding for the Hawaii Good Agricultural Practices Program to develop and support good agricultural practices for Hawaii farms growing agricultural food products.

SB1060, CD1, allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects to assist the livestock industry by establishing a low-interest biosecurity loan program within the Department of Agriculture for construction, improvements, purchase of equipment and other costs related to biosecurity projects.

SB376, CD1 establishes the Hawaii Farm to School Program and a Farm to School Coordinator position.


SB555, CD1, increases the refundable food/excise tax credit. Repeals credit for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $30,000 or above and for heads of households, married couples filing jointly, and married couples filing separately, with adjusted gross incomes of $50,000 or above. Repeals residency requirement. Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015. Repeal and reenactment on 12/31/2017.

HB134, CD1, reauthorizes the counties’ authority to establish a county surcharge on state tax for a limited time period, with the surcharge to be effective until 12/31/2027, if adopted. Requires counties to adopt an ordinance to establish or extend a surcharge prior to 7/1/2016. Limits the use of surcharge revenues by counties that have already established a county surcharge on state tax to capital costs. Expands the definition of capital costs for counties with a population greater than 500,000.


SB1001, CD1, establishes and appropriates funds for the manufacturing development program, through which the High Technology Development Corporation may distribute grants to Hawaii manufacturers for various activities.

SB519, CD1, authorizes fines to be deposited into the tax administration special fund. Increases the balance that may be retained in the tax administration special fund in each fiscal year. Authorizes DOTAX to enforce civil penalties for operators and plan managers who fail to display the certificate of registration and registration ID numbers for transient accommodations and resort time share vacation plans. Authorizes DOTAX to issue citations for failure to provide the registration identification number or link to the number and the contact information of the local contact in an advertisement for a transient accommodation or resort time share vacation plan. Takes effect 1/1/16.

SB892, CD1, makes various appropriations for the Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.


HB1509, CD1, requires the University of Hawaii to establish collective goal of becoming net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035.

SB717, CD1, repeals existing requirement that gasoline for motor vehicles be composed of ten per cent ethanol. Effective December 31, 2015.

HB623, CD1, which increases the state’s renewable portfolio standards to 30 percent by December 31, 2020, 70 percent by December 31, 2040, and 100 percent by December 31, 2045. Requires the Public Utilities Commission to include the impact of renewable portfolio standards, if any, on the energy prices offered by renewable energy developers and the cost fossil fuel volatility in its report to the Legislature.

SB1050, CD1, requires electric utilities to file proposed community-based renewable energy tariffs with the public utilities commission by October 1, 2015. Authorizes ratepayer participation in eligible community-based renewable energy projects. (CD1)

SB1316, CD1, establishes a working group to examine the issues regarding requests to the board of directors of an association of apartment owners, condominium association, cooperative housing corporation, or planned community association regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.

SB349, CD1, establishes a five-year renewable fuels production tax credit and repeals the ethanol facility tax credit. Allows qualifying taxpayers to claim a refundable income tax credit equal to 20 cents per seventy-six thousand British thermal units of qualifying renewable fuel, capped at $3,000,000 per taxable year. Caps the credit at $3,000,000 per year in aggregate. Requires DBEDT to certify all tax credits and submit a report regarding the production and sale of qualifying renewable fuels to the governor and legislature each year. Directs DOTAX to create forms for the tax credit. Applies to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2015.

SB1214, CD1, relating to the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Maui Electric Company, Limited, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.


SB464, CD1, requires persons charging a consumer’s credit or debit card or account for automatic renewal or continuous service offer to first obtain the consumer’s affirmative consent. Requires acknowledgment of terms, cancellation policy, and information on how to cancel the automatic renewal or continuous service to be provided to the consumer. Requires free trial offers to clearly and conspicuously disclose how to cancel the agreement prior to the consumer being charged for goods and services.

HB261, CD1, requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to post and update information on drug formularies via a public website and toll-free number for the benefit of insureds, potential insureds, and providers. Establishes a formulary accessibility working group.

SB1009, CD1, requires hotels to distribute porterage service charges to employees in full or disclose to customers that the charges are being used for other purposes.


SB181, CD1, allows the Department of Education to continue, until June 30, 2020, awarding high school diplomas to qualified veterans who did not receive a high school diploma as a result of compulsory induction into active service in the armed services of the United States or any person whose high school education was interrupted due to wartime practices such as internment during World War II.

HB1153, CD1, exempts qualifying totally and permanently disabled veterans from paying the state motor vehicle registration fee. Requires the Director of the Office of Veterans’ Services to report the number of qualifying veterans to the Legislature and Department of Taxation.


SB996, CD1, appropriates funds to the State Ethics Commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the State Ethics Commission.

SB654, CD1, reduces from less than $500 to less than $100, the aggregate contribution amount a candidate may receive from ten or more anonymous persons at the same political function. Takes effect on 1/1/2016.

HB179, CD1, specifies the in-state mailing address in a voter’s registration record as the forwarding address for receiving absentee ballots permanently. Requires voters seeking to have permanent absentee ballots forwarded to another address to re-apply for an absentee ballot.

SB508, CD1, requires noncandidate committees to file an additional preliminary report on October 1 of each general election year.

HB15, CD1, specifies that the Chief Election Officer is an at-will employee. Requires Elections Commission to provide notice and reason for removal of a Chief Election Officer. Requires a performance evaluation of the Chief Election Officer after a general election. Requires a public hearing on the Chief Election Officer’s performance for purposes of considering reappointment. Creates a statewide standard for the distribution of absentee ballots.

HB1491, CD1, strengthens reporting requirements for organizational reports, noncandidate reports, and late contributions reports submitted by noncandidate committees making or receiving large contributions.


SB254, CD1, requires information on the estimated operational costs of proposed capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance costs of state-owned buildings, facilities, and other improvements to be summarized in the multi-year program and financial plan and supplemental budget, as applicable. Intends that the requirement apply to the judiciary. Effective 7/1/2016.

HB1140, CD1, provides a temporary income tax credit for the cost of upgrading or converting a qualified cesspool to a septic system or an aerobic treatment unit system, or connecting to a sewer system. Permits DOH, as a pilot program, to certify no more than 2 residential large capacity cesspools as qualified cesspools. Defines terms. Effective 7/1/2015. Sunsets 12/31/2020.

SB1312, CD1, appropriates $10,000,000 from the general revenues into the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund in FY 2014-2015 to comply with article VII, section 6, of the Hawaii State Constitution, which requires, under certain economic conditions, that the legislature provide a tax credit to state taxpayers or make a deposit into one or more funds.


SB1177, CD1, appropriates funds to establish four full-time equivalent positions with the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to address the findings contained in Auditor’s Report No. 14-11, that the Foundation needs to improve its management to ensure the accountability, accessibility, and protection of the Foundation’s resources.


SB868, CD1, authorizes county liquor commissions to prescribe regulations on dancing in establishments licensed to serve alcohol. Requires liquor commissions that do regulate dancing to adopt or amend administrative rules, no later than October 1, 2015, regarding dancing in premises licensed to sell liquor for consumption thereon and include a definition of “dancing” in those rules.

HB1090, HD2, prohibits non-compete agreements and restrictive covenants that forbid post-employment competition for employees of a technology business to stimulate economic development in Hawaii’s technology business sector.

HB1366, CD1, appropriates $500,000 to perform due diligence, plan, and enter into negotiations to acquire the Alii Place building in Downtown Honolulu to provide office space for state governmental agencies and offices.

Hawaii Senate Approves 160 Bills in Final Reading

The full Senate today passed 160 bills including measures to protect undeveloped land on Oahu’s North Shore, increase the food/excise tax credit, and ensure funding so that Hawai‘i’s elderly are cared for. capital

“I am proud of the Senate’s accomplishments this session,” said Senate Majority Leader, Senator J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “We resolved a number of lingering issues, including Turtle Bay. We also provided support for some of our most fragile members of our community; the homeless, our seniors, our preschoolers, as well as provided safeguards for our natural resources.”

Senators today also approved several measures that include provisions to support the Senate’s Legislative Agenda set forth at the beginning of the 2015 Session to move Hawai‘i towards a more resilient and sustainable state.

“The budget that was passed today is one that is fiscally prudent, yet addresses many of the priorities of the Senate and the House. Although we were working with a lean budget, we were able to position the State to be in a better position not just for this biennium, but for years to come,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist 24 – Kāne‘ohe, Kāne‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, Āhuimanu), Chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee. The State budget bill HB500 CD1 approved nearly $6.6 billion in general funds for FY2015-2016 and $6.862 billion in general funds for FY2016-2017.

A few of the bills that the Senate approved today include:

  • Autism Coverage: SB791 CD1 would mandate that insurance companies cover up to $25,000 a year in treatment until a child turns 14.
  • Turtle Bay: SB284 CD1 allows the state to enter into an agreement with the owners of Turtle Bay that would protect 665 acres of undeveloped land on the North Shore of Oahu.
  • Free Dual Credit Programs for High-Schoolers: SB374 CD1 would waive college tuition for high school students in dual credit programs, such as Running Start and Jump Start, at the University of Hawai‘i’s community colleges.
  • Health Connector Assistance: SB1028 CD1 would provide $2 million next year for the health insurance marketplace.
  • Food/Excise Tax Credit: SB555 CD1 would increase the food/excise tax credit, which hasn’t been changed since it was established in 2007.
  • Preschool Open Doors: SB64 CD1 would restore $6 million necessary to run the Preschool Open Doors Program, the statewide school readiness program, next year.
  • Community-Based Renewable Energy Projects: SB1050 CD1 would establish a community-based renewable energy program, which allows electric utility customers to participate in renewable energy projects that produce electricity, which they can sell back to electric utility companies.
  • Barrel Tax: SB359 CD1 would fund the Environmental Response Revolving Fund with the general fund instead of the barrel tax to ensure there is a consistent stream of funding that supplies investments in clean energy, local agricultural production and environmental emergency responses.
  • Kupuna Care: SB964 CD1 would provide an additional $3 million to fund the Kupuna Care program in fiscal year 2016, which is in addition to the base budget of $4.8 million.
  • Sex Trafficking: SB265 CD1 would ban sex trafficking and raise the penalties to a class A felony and promote the concept of treating prostitutes as victims rather than criminals.
  • Homeless ID cards: SB273 CD1 would allow homeless people to apply for state identification cards even without the required state and federal documents if a social service organization, attorney, member of the clergy, correctional institution staff or health professional presents a signed statement certifying their personal information. It would waive fees for homeless individuals.
  • Ethanol Repeal: SB717 CD1 repeals the existing requirement that gasoline for motor vehicles be composed of 10 percent ethanol.
  • Hawai‘i Resiliency and Sustainability: SB892 CD1 appropriates funding for Hawai‘i resilience and sustainability strategy in the areas of broadband, energy efficiency and smart grid, and water and sewer infrastructure.
  • Affirmative Consent: SB387, CD1 would establish an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawai‘i’s executive policy on sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • Multi-Track: SB1345 CD1would require the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools.

The bills approved today were also approved by the House and will be forwarded to the Governor for his signature, veto, or passage without his signature.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Bill Passes Conference Committee

Senate and House conferees today reached a compromise on the bill that would establish a medical marijuana dispensary system in the islands.

Medical Marijuana

“This is a measure that many stakeholders have been working on for a very long time. It’s taken much discussion, collaboration and compromise to get where we are today and we believe this is a good measure that will get the medical marijuana dispensary system up and rolling,” said Senator Will Espero (D-19 ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages), chair of the Senate conference committee. “We are now on the verge of having a safe, secure product for our patients who need this, particularly the children who will benefit tremendously from medical cannabis.”

HB321, CD1 would allow applications for licenses to be available in the State of Hawai‘i starting January 4, 2016, with medical marijuana dispensaries being allowed to begin operations no sooner than July 15, 2016. A $5,000 non-refundable fee would be required to apply for a license.  An approved dispensary would pay a fee of $75,000 for a license, with a $50,000 annual renewal fee.  A total of eight dispensary licenses will be distributed throughout the state: three on Oahu, two on Maui, two on Hawai‘i Island, and one on Kaua‘i. Dispensary licenses will be selected on a merit basis and distributed through the State Department of Health (DOH).

The measure requires all dispensary licensees and employees to be subject to a criminal and background check. It restricts medical marijuana dispensaries within 750 feet of a playground, public housing complex or school. It also authorizes licensed dispensaries to be subject to annual unannounced inspections of its operations by the DOH.

The measure will be voted on by the full House and Senate on Thursday, May 7. If the bill passes both houses, it will be forwarded to the Governor for his signature, veto, or passage without his signature.