Medical cannabis dispensary speculates recreational marijuana could bring $500 million in state revenue
A bill that would legalize recreational marijuana moves through the state Legislature this week.
A bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use is moving through the state Senate. What it doesn't spell out is- how would the dispensaries sell it?
Right now, only patients with a "329" medical card can enter the sales room of a medical cannabis dispensary. If the curent bill to legalize recreational marijuana is approved, dispensaries will have to change the way they do business.
Noa Botanicals on Oahu points out two possibilities. CEO Brian Goldstein says Colorado shops build two separate sales rooms. "You enter and say, 'I'm buying medical or recreational.' If it's medical you show your medical ID and go and shop on the medical side of the store, where there are specific products available."
In Nevada, he says there's only one sales room. You show your medical card to get different privileges. "Your record in the computer shows you are a medical patient, and you can buy products- which tend to be available in higher dosages," Goldstein explains.
Hawaii's bill would allow anyone 21 and older to buy up to a half an ounce of marijuana for recreational use, and according to Goldstein, could generate millions in revenue; the bill proposes an additional 15% general ecxise tax on recreational marijuana.
"I think you could see upwards of half a billion dollars in economic benefit to the state with legalization," Goldstein theorizes.
Thirty percent of that tax revenue would be used for substance abuse prevention and education. Opponents argue, if parents use recreational marijuana it would still be a bad influence on children.
Supporters, like John Orr, don't see that as a real issue. "If this culture is going to allow alcohol, this culture ought to allow marijuana. It's a less detrimental chemical than alcohol."
This bill has to be heard by the joint committees of Ways and Means and Consumer Protection and Health by March 1 or it will die.
More on Senate bill 686 at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=686&year=2019.