In Hawaii, inter-island medical cannabis trade opens new avenues

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Several medical cannabis companies in Hawaii are pioneering a unique new sales channel by selling and delivering cannabis flower and other cannabis products from island to island within the Hawaiian Islands. State.

This inter-island cannabis trade, via plane, helicopter or boat, is a first in Hawaii and a rare phenomenon in the United States due to federal cannabis prohibition. Although transportation details of these products remain confidential due to potential legal and security concerns, Hawaii lawmakers in June approved a law allowing state-licensed businesses to sell cannabis wholesale to cannabis businesses located on other islands. The regulations came into force in August.

A primary motivation for this interisland trade is to address product inventory shortages that have persisted in Hawaii’s medical cannabis market since its inception six years ago. These shortages are due to the fact that the state’s market has a limited number of licenses and is located in a remote location.

In response, companies such as Big Island Grown, which has a 3,200 square meter indoor cultivation facility on the island of Hawaii, completed the state’s first inter-island wholesale transaction with the dispensary Green Aloha from Kauai. This operation increased Green Aloha’s gross revenues by 40% in just nine days. Big Island Grown also received approval to distribute live resin gummies, vape pens and other concentrates to retailers, in response to patient demand.

Although similar transportation methods are rare in the United States, some operators in Alaska and Washington state have transported legal cannabis by sea and air to reach their retail locations. However, these activities carry significant risks, as cannabis remains illegal under federal law. In Hawaii, the high cost of doing business, customs duties and logistical issues exacerbate the difficulties faced by medical cannabis operators in a state with few industries outside of tourism and real estate.

Hawaii’s medical cannabis market has experienced stagnation in patient registrations and profitability challenges, in part due to a well-established illicit market and a limited number of dispensaries. Nonetheless, the recent introduction of interisland cannabis commerce could serve as a model for other markets and improve accessibility for patients across the Hawaiian Islands.

Efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis in Hawaii have faced challenges in the past, but the industry is optimistic that progress can be made in the 2024 legislative session.

House Speaker Scott Saiki plans to work on an adult-use legalization and retail bill, and Gov. Josh Green has signaled a willingness to sign such a bill if it comes to fruition. on his desk.

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