The Hawaii Department of Health has posted the interim administrative rules for the medical marijuana dispensary licensing program on its website.

“The interim rules were written first and foremost to effectively implement the medical marijuana dispensary law and get the dispensary system up and running,” Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler said in a release Tuesday.

“The rules have also been drafted to ensure patient safety, product safety and public safety, and prevent marketing to our keiki,” she said. “This product is intended to be used for registered patients who need it for medical purposes and the rules are written specifically to accomplish that goal.”

Some entrepreneurs want the option to grow medical marijuana using natural sunlight.

Some entrepreneurs want the option to grow medical marijuana using natural sunlight.

Anita Hofschneider/Civil Beat

The interim rules explain: the criteria and process for awarding dispensary licenses; security requirements; the standards for certifying laboratories that will be responsible for ensuring the safety of the marijuana or manufactured marijuana products distributed at the retail dispensing locations; requirements for operating the dispensaries, including tracking each dispensary’s inventory of products from seed to sale or disposal; and other requirements, according to the release.

Among the requirements are that the pot be grown in an enclosed structure. Lawmakers and others had wanted to see this definition amended to include greenhouses, which could save growers millions of dollars on electricity and other costs, but that didn’t happen.

The department had said in October that the public wouldn’t see the rules until January, as the agency was struggling with a backlog of applications.

The program is headed by Margaret “Peggy” Leong, who took the reins last week.

The medical marijuana dispensary law allows the department to award eight licenses: three for the City and County of Honolulu, two each for Big Island; two for Maui County; and one for Kauai.

Each licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail dispensing locations, the release says. The initial open application period for licensing begins Jan. 12 and ends Jan. 29.

The rules are on the department’s medical marijuana website — health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana — under “Dispensary Updates.” The release says the interim rules are effective immediately and will remain in effect until July 1, 2018, or until rules are adopted pursuant to chapter 91 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Read the rules below.

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