Hawai‘i’s Medical Marijuana Economy: A Roadmap for the Future


The Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance is pleased to provide you with the attached copy of our most recent white paper: “Hawai‘i’s Medical Marijuana Economy: A Roadmap for the Future”. This technical study is the industry’s first attempt to predict its own future and envision the collaborative involvement of government officials, patients, dispensary applicants, and local businesses in making Hawai‘i’s medical marijuana industry a success for all of Hawai‘i.

The Department of Health is scheduled to select Hawai‘i’s first medical marijuana dispensaries next week and the dispensaries may start selling medical marijuana as early as July. Yet our collective conversation about the future of the industry is focused on the selection process and the resultant licensees. A focus that fails to consider the specifics of how the industry should develop to benefit Hawai‘i’s future.

At the very least, Hawai‘i needs a profitable industry that provides good service and quality medicine to patients at an affordable price while discouraging diversion to the black market and gradually reducing the public stigma of the industry. But these should merely be the baseline goals of the industry – the lowest acceptable outcome – we can do so much better for the patients, Hawai‘i, and ourselves if we work together to create a new medical marijuana economy! We can reinvigorate Hawai‘i’s struggling agricultural sector; create a new global tourism market; attract investment from across the world for medical innovations; light a fire under our nascent technology industry; further incentivize renewable energy development; and export a uniquely Hawaiian standard of care for the global industry.

The government, the patients, the public, and businesses across the state must choose to engage with each other and the dispensary applicants. There is opportunity, risk, and reward for all who step forward – but if we do nothing, nothing will happen. Hawai‘i must choose whether we will let medical marijuana become yet another industry dominated by mainland interests, or whether we will take the steps necessary to create a medical marijuana economy that the rest of the world will emulate. Time is running short.

Thank you for taking the time to review this HDA White Paper. The Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance is the trade association for the industry, but we cannot create the future alone. We need you, your ideas, and your expertise. Let us know what you think of these potential futures for Hawai‘i and how you see yourself involved in this new industrial revolution.


Christopher H. Garth

​Executive Director

​Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance​

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