HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The 2nd Annual Hawaii Cannabis Expo kicked off at the Blaisdell Center on Friday.
The three-day event aims to educate the public on potential benefits offered by the cannabis plant, while providing attendees with information on how to safely access it in Hawaii as a registered patient.
This comes as lawmakers push for several bills to move the medical marijuana industry forward.
Senate Bill 173, for example, would allow dispensaries to sell edible cannabis, which is currently prohibited under state law.
Lawmakers are also trying to figure out how patients can transport their medical pot from island to island.
Another bill would broaden the types of ailments that qualify for legal use to include lupus, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, autism, anxiety, depression, insomnia and stress.
"This is a new era in the sense we have our dispensaries opening up this year," said Senator Will Espero,
Espero purused the exhibits Friday night. He also sees business opportunities.
"There's a lot of interest on what people are saying, what they're thinking and what type of industries are out there where our local people and residents can get involved in," he said.
Expo attendees hopes to connect with cannabis experts.
"Right now, I'm looking for a grower for me," said Ewa resident Benny Fuentes. "Someone that can grow the plant for me because I cant grow it where I'm renting."
"This is helping people," said Veronia Voloria, who flew from Kauai to attend the expo. "This is revolutionary and our patients have been suffering on the islands for a long time and now we're seeing relief."
A recent Gallup poll found 60 percent of Americans favor the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana, though it is still technically a federal offense.
Newly-appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a hard marijuana critic, but experts say the pot industry isn't slowing down anytime soon.
"Recreationally or medically, it's here to stay," said Edibles List vendor Keiko Beaties. "It doesn't matter who's president or the attorney general is, we are moving forward no matter what."
For more information on the expo, click here.