Hawaii lawmakers passed a bill allowing medical marijuana edibles, a move that could significantly boost the roughly $16 million-$20 million-a-year market.
The legislation has been sent to the desk of Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, who has been resistant to some cannabis policy reforms. The bill enjoyed strong support in the Legislature.
The Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association (HCIA) praised the Legislature’s action, which came in a session shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Medical cannabis patients have been asking for alternative ways to take their medication other than inhalation since the first dispensary opened their doors,” according to a Facebook post by the HCIA.
“This is especially important in a COVID-19 world where lung and overall health are on the forefront of our minds.”
Edibles sales have been strong in many U.S. markets during the coronavirus crisis. And the cannabis industry has been bolstered by the fact that many states have categorized medical marijuana dispensaries as essential businesses.
The Hawaii legislation would take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, but the state health department would need to develop rules before edibles sales could begin, a dispensary owner told Big Island Now.
Hawaii currently has about 30,000 registered medical cannabis patients. The program is heavily regulated, with only eight vertically integrated licensees.
Marijuana Business Factbook projects that 2020 sales will reach $16 million-$20 million, up from $14 million-$17 million in 2019.