HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Health has officially issued licenses to the eight new medical marijuana dispensaries Thursday.
At the same time, it released a list of criteria each applicant had to meet to get a license.
The department said the licensees were chosen based on their answers on how they would meet the requirements. They included having a business plan, explaining how they would have secure tracking and control of their inventory, and how they would manage a business that requires 24-hour security monitoring.
On Oahu, the three licensees all scored 470 to 475 points out of just over 500 possible points. Aloha Green Holdings scored 475 points, while Manoa Botanicals and TCG Retro Market 1 both scored 470 points.
In Hawaii County, Hawaii Ethos scored 480 points, while Lau Ola LLC scored 471.5 points.
In Maui County, Maui Wellness Group got the highest score of the eight licensees with 510 points. Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC scored 470 points.
Kauai County's only licensee, Green Aloha, Ltd., had the lowest score of the new licensees with 433 points.
Big Island Farmer Richard Ha's group, Lau Ola LLC, was one of the more 60 groups and individuals that applied.
"I guess we did good! We got the license," said Ha.
Ha announced earlier this year that he was closing Maunakea Banana Company and Hamakua Springs Country Farms, but had also hoped to lease his land to a group to grow and distribute medical marijuana in order to save the jobs of his 20-plus employees.
"Everybody is just really happy to be selected, but right after that was the huge responsibility," said Ha. "This is really serious stuff."
Ha also got through the last hurdle to getting one of the eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses. All of the companies have paid their $75,000 licensing fee to the Department of Health. He hopes to have his dispensary up and running at the end of the year.