HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Island's first two medical marijuana dispensaries are scheduled to open this summer.
One of them, Lau Ola LLC., brought leading cannabis experts from around the world to Honolulu to talk about industry research Tuesday night.
Dr. David (Dedi) Meiri, head of one of the leading laboratories in the world, said he and his team are using cannabis to find a cure for cancer.
"What we saw was that there is a specificity between the types of the cannabis, and its ability to attack specific types of cancer. So if cannabis number one killed colon cancer, but did nothing to prostate cancer. While cannabis number two did nothing to the colon cancer but killed the prostate cancer," Dr. Meiri said.
As the industry picks up, Dr. Meiri stresses the need for cannabis to be taken seriously. He and other researchers do not support recreational use.
Chief Operating Officer of Lau Ola and farmer Richard Ha, doesn't either. He said legalizing marijuana will open the floodgates for out-of-state growers.
"For Hawaii, I think the recreational side of it means that it will be commoditized, and once it becomes commoditized, then it'll be like regular vegetables and that's the reason why we only have about 15-percent of the food we grow produced in Hawaii, because you can get it cheaper somewhere else," Ha said.
On the other hand, gubernatorial candidate Clayton Hee says legalizing recreational use would provide new revenue sources instead of raising taxes.
Currently, there is a measure moving through the legislature this session that would allow tourists with pot prescriptions to medicine in Hawaii.
"We have a number of cannabis measures moving through the legislature now, we are looking at ways to ensure that patients from out of state, so tourists are able to access the dispensaries," said Rep. Della Au Belatti, member of the house health committee.
A public decision making hearing for House Bill 2729 will be held on Thursday at 10:50 a.m. in conference room 211.