Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Predict Strong Sales in First Year

A report forecasting the medical marijuana industry in Hawaii projects that the state’s MMJ program will have up to $38 million in sales in its first 12 months.

new report by the Hawaii Dispensary Alliance predicts that medical marijuana dispensaries in the state will pull in $12.7 million to $38 million in sales in their first year of business.

The alliance, a membership organization that consists of patients, dispensaries, businesses, and government leaders, based their estimate on state population projections, the average percentage of the state’s population that is registered for medical marijuana, and the average annual sales total per patient. Their 2016 HDA Industry Forecast was published on their website.

“This report… is intended to spark a public conversation about the role Hawai‘i’s medical marijuana dispensary program could play in the state’s economy as a whole, and what steps the industry will need to take to reach its full potential,” the alliance said in a press release.

As pointed out by Marijuana Business Daily, the alliance’s projection’s nearly align with those published in the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, which predicted Hawaii dispensaries would reach $15 million to $30 million in the first year of sales.

Medical marijuana sales in Hawaii began just last month. Although the Hawaii Legislature legalized medical marijuana 16 years ago, it wasn’t until the passing of SB 321 last year that dispensaries and grow facilities were established. Prior patients had to either purchase marijuana on the illegal market or grow their own.

As of May, Hawaii had 14,074 registered medical marijuana patients, according to the Hawaii State Department of Health. The alliance expects the number of registered patients and total medical marijuana sales to grow significantly over the next couple of years.

“Projecting forward to 2018 and beyond as the caregiver system is phased out and the patient count grows across the state to between 30,000 and 40,000 patients, the dispensaries may expect industry revenues between $30 [million] and $144 [million],” the report concludes.

The authors acknowledge the range of their projection is wide and estimate that the true value to “land somewhere around $80.6 million plus some level from visiting patients.” By 2018, the state is forecasted to have 40,075 registered medical marijuana patients. The state’s medical marijuana legislature calls for up to 16 dispensaries dispersed throughout the islands.

Potentially furthering Hawaii’s medical marijuana market are recent legislative tweaks that could lead to more cannabis products, registered patients, and tax breaks. In July, Gov. David Ige signed legislation that made minor changes related to dispensaries and cultivation.

The new provisions enable dispensaries to claim certain tax credit write-offs, allow them to open on Sundays, and expand approved cannabis products to include inhalers and transdermal skin patches. The bill also defines a single plant as 12 inches high and 12 inches wide, grants up to 3,000 plants per production center, and allows dispensaries to grow plants in buildings with transparent or translucent roofs beginning in 2017 to reduce electricity costs. Additionally, the provisions allow for marijuana to be transferred between islands for testing, give the University of Hawaii permission to conduct cannabis research, and allow advanced practice registered nurses to certify new patients.