In the last months of 2015, the Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance (HDA) opened its doors for business as Hawai‘i’s first and only trade association for the medical marijuana industry. Located in local Chinatown office space, Real Office Centers, this small non-profit has big plans for Hawai‘i’s future. The new trade association is bringing together patients, dispensaries, related businesses, and local residents through education, member resources, and community building to help guide the development of Hawai‘i’s forthcoming medical marijuana industry.
Although medical marijuana has been legal for home cultivation in Hawai‘i since 2000, many patients eligible for medical marijuana treatments were unable to either grow their own medicine or locate a primary caregiver willing to grow their medicine. It is these kinds of stories that motivated the founding of HDA and shaped HDA’s agenda. Now that Hawai‘i has a law authorizing dispensaries, HDA is working hard to ensure that all qualifying patients have reliable access to safe and effective medical marijuana by guiding the fledgling industry’s development.
“We really wanted to take a patient-centric approach to organizing this industry,” says Executive Director, Chris Garth. “There is a stigma facing those who currently utilize or grow their own medical cannabis, so it’s important to us that we empower every component of Hawai‘i’s Medical Cannabis Industry to move in a progressive direction.”
HDA has been met with much interest and enthusiasm by community leaders since its opening in September. The team has participated in panels with the Hawai‘i Venture Capitalist Association and the National Cannabis Industry Association and has even briefed the Hawai‘i Legislature on the status and implementation of Act 241- the medical dispensaries bill. “The medical marijuana industry is Hawaii’s newest healthcare industry that has tremendous opportunity for growth,” says Senator Will Espero, “Stakeholders and advocates will need a voice to express their opinions and needs. The Alliance can become an important entity in this early phase of a promising industry.”
“THE ALLIANCE CAN BECOME AN IMPORTANT ENTITY IN THIS EARLY PHASE OF A PROMISING INDUSTRY.”- SENATOR WILL ESPERO
Membership with HDA is open to patients, dispensaries, related businesses, and all other interested parties at hawaiidispensaryalliance.org. The general public can also stay updated on HDA’s activities via their Linkedin, Twitter, or Facebook pages.