- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii’s medical marijuana dispensaries could generate between $12 million and $38 million in revenue in their first year of operations, according to the Hawaii Dispensary Alliance.

A report from the trade groups predicts those figures could grow to as much as $80.5 million by 2018. The forecast is based upon the state’s more than 14,000 registered medical marijuana patients growing to between 30,000 and 40,000 in the next two years, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/29KlR9i).

Christopher Garth, the alliance’s executive director, said the state’s economic gain from the opening of the medical pot dispensaries depends largely upon the growth of registered medical marijuana patients.

“For Hawaii to reap the benefits of this program, it takes active participation and cooperation from all parties,” Garth said in the report. “The industry is so young, and we haven’t even launched over here and participation is good, but it could be better. As participation grows and as the professional and social stigma deteriorates, we have an opportunity as an industry and as a state to really elevate to a greater level and greater expectation.”

The revenue projections for the first year of operations take into account how much each patient will spend at dispensaries based on national prices - between $100 and $200 per month, or $1,200 and $3,600 a year. The average spent per transaction at marijuana retailers nationwide is $72.

“Hawaii performs on the high-end of each of these metrics with a few dispensaries competing in each county, a maximum purchase amount of one-half pound per customer, no additional taxes and a for-profit regulatory scheme,” said Garrett Halydier, Hawaii Dispensary Alliance CEO.

The Department of Health selected eight businesses in April to open the state’s first medical marijuana dispensaries under a law passed in 2015. The businesses are expected to open sometime later this year or early next year.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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