Hawaii Cannabis Expo 2018
By Kea Keolanui, Hawaiian Ethos Community Relations Director
All things cannabis
The 3rd annual Hawaii Cannabis Expo opened doors to over 10,000 attendees for their 2018 event. With the number of vendors nearly doubling from last year’s cannabis expo, the expansion of the industry is apparent.
Interested community members flooded through the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu to check out the variety of vendors. Medical cannabis dispensary representatives, physicians, cannabis testing laboratories, hemp CBD producers, as well as other cannabis related vendors were readily available to chat with curious attendees.
15 years in the making
Hawaii was one of the first states in the US to legalize medical cannabis in 2000. It wasn’t until over a decade later that medical cannabis dispensaries were also legalized in 2015. Three of the Oahu medical cannabis dispensaries had booths set up and were eager to answer questions and provide more information about their dispensaries and offerings. The HEALTH group, which represents all 8 of the medical cannabis licensees in the state also had a booth set up.
Multiple seminars were also available to attendees. Presentations were made with speakers who are experts in their field. A wide spectrum of topics included cannabis cultivation, the science of medical cannabis, delivery methods, cannabis for seniors, extraction techniques, and many other topics that are beneficial to patients and the community.
Lawmakers were also in attendance and used the event to draw support for medical cannabis bills in the legislature. Senator Will Espero gave a talk on both Saturday and Sunday, providing a legislative update as well as highlighting medical cannabis, hemp, and adult use.
Representative Della Au Belatti also joined in on the legislative update promoting bills that would change the landscape of the medical cannabis industry in Hawaii. One bill would establish an Office of Medical Cannabis Control and Regulation. "This would be an office by itself handling both the patient registry program and the dispensary regulation program," said Belatti, who is a member of the House Health Committee.
Another bill would extend the validity of a patient's written certification from one year to three years for chronic conditions and allow out-of-state patients to obtain medical cannabis.
the state of Cannabis in the Aloha state
"We know Hawaii is a visitor destination and we know that people use cannabis in their own states, so we want to make sure they can access their medicine here," said Belatti.
Kyle Paredes, event director said that the Hawaii Cannabis Expo attendance has been growing by 25% each year. “People want to get involved and learn more,” said Paredes. The diversity and number of individuals attending the event highlights that there is a lot of interest in the Aloha State about using cannabis as medicine.