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The Hawaii Sustainable Family Farm Act
"This act is crafted to enact legislation, which will accomplish a multi-faceted cornucopia of goals, to wit:
1. Hawaii State will establish a medical cannabis genetic seed bank to ensure the integrity and availability of the certified strains of medical cannabis.
2. Hawaii State will identify and certify specific strains of medical cannabis as official Hawaii Island strains of medical grade cannabis, thus preparing to capitalize on Hawaii’s already established national reputation for producing high quality cannabis products.
3. Hawaii State will establish testing standards and issue permits to genetic testing labs to test and certify the Hawaiian strains of ethical medical cannabis products. Testing facilities will be regulated, taxed, and licensed similar to all chemical testing laboratories.
4. The Sustainability Clause will provide financial viability for Hawaii’s agricultural communities by issuing allotment permits to grow medical cannabis to farmers, who grow one or more organic crop (in addition to cannabis), thus supporting Hawaii’s self-sustainability goals. This facet of the act is modeled after the tobacco allotment program.
5. After waiting over a decade since medical cannabis was legalized, this amendment will provide Hawaii’s medical cannabis patients with safe, ethical, and reliable source to fill their medicinal cannabis prescriptions, which will end the current fears, confusion, and conflicts created by the current medical marijuana laws.
6. This amendment will raise substantial revenues by licensing and taxing the production, testing, and sale of standardized Hawaiian medical cannabis products, which will greatly reduce Hawaii’s burgeoning deficits.
The Hawaii State Legislature has the unique opportunity to create landmark legislation, establishing and regulating a Hawaiian medical cannabis industry that will also provide sustainability for Hawaii’s Family Farmers.
By adopting legislation similar to tobacco industry, Hawaii can add millions of dollars annually to Hawaii’s agricultural industries and support Hawaii’s self-sustainability by augmenting farmer’s income. This will make it financially viable for farmers to produce a wide variety of organic produce for our local markets, which would decrease our dependency on imports and provide Hawaii’s people with a fresher, healthier, and cheaper food supply.
The goal is to create a system that will
(1) provide registered patients with safe access to medicine and
(2) meet all criteria for pharmaceutical standards and federal laws.
The key to meeting these goals successfully is to maintain a clear understanding of the differences between the issues regarding medical cannabis use and recreational use, while operating within the guidelines of evolving federal scheduling and statutes.
The Hawaii Sustainable Farm Act will create the groundwork needed to establish such a system. Once in place, this system will generate a significant tax base as well as an agricultural model of self-sustainability.
The two primary elements to this proposal are:
1. Establishment of a Genetic Strain Bank.
2. Creation of a Task Force.
The Medical Cannabis R&D Facility
The Genetic Strain Bank
To ensure medical grade quality and consistency, as well as enabling the verification of genetic strains, the seeds of the medical cannabis varieties must be closely monitored, documented, and regulated. The Hawaii Sustainable Farm Act proposes the establishment of an official Medical Cannabis R&D Facility, which will create The Hawaii Genetic Cannabis Strain Bank, operating under Hawaii State regulations during a specified Test Model Phase.
Important considerations include the following:
1. All Medical Cannabis produced in Hawaii would have consistent genetics, which is necessary for standardized diagnostics and dosing. The genetic purity and consistency of medical cannabis will then be easily verified.
2. Hawaii’s cannabis patients and caregivers will finally be provided with legal and safe access to Medical Cannabis seeds and clones.
3. Standardized medical cannabis products would be available for possible future export of medical cannabis products, pending changes in Federal laws.
4. Under this proposal, the State of Hawaii will collect a $5,000 annual license fee.
We need to emphasize that before any distribution system can be established, we must create a viable supply of medical grade cannabis. One reason for the failure of California’s system is that they established a distribution system before they addressed the actual medicinal supply. Keep in mind that both systems have to meet Federal and medical criteria.
The Hawaii Sustainable Farm Act proposes the establishment of a Task Force to create a system of guidelines and regulations for every aspect of Medical Cannabis, from planting the crop to processing the derivatives to distributing the medicine.
1. The Sustainable Agricultural Model
Using data collected by the Hawaii Genetic Cannabis Strain Bank, the Task Force will create a Sustainable Agricultural Model that will establish a medical farming system specific to Hawaii’s unique climate. This will yield the highest quality and most consistent medical grade cannabis crop available, establishing medicines that can eventually supply the entire country’s medical cannabis needs.
The proposed Sustainable Agricultural Model will require licensed medical cannabis farmers to grow a food crop to be delivered to local market. This second crop will be subsidized by revenue from the cannabis crop and will create a model of self-sustainability for our import dependent islands. The goal is to reduce our dependency on imported foods and to help Hawaii’s farmers supply Hawaii’s people with fresher and cheaper foods.
The emphasis of this proposal is to create a system that will benefit all of Hawaii’s people, not just our medical patients. Tax revenues generated by the growing and processing of medical cannabis will go a long way towards offering economic relief to our over-burdened state budget, but the Sustainable Agricultural Model will reap immediate, tangible benefits for all the people of Hawaii. Imagine a future when we no longer live in fear of the day when the ships stop. The Sustainable Agricultural Model could make that dream a reality.
The Task Force will also examine the various tax and licensing issues specific to the agricultural stage.
2. The Processing Model
In order to comply with new Federal guidelines and scheduling, the Task Force will study and determine methods for deriving medical grade concentrates and oils. It will also establish regulations concerning production facilities.
Federal scheduling will soon reclassify cannabis concentrates and oils from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3, but the raw vegetable matter form of cannabis will remain Schedule 1. This move will eventually eliminate the cannabis bud, flower, or leaf as a medical alternative, leaving concentrates and oils as the only medical option.
The Task Force will also address ethical, safe, and medically approved delivery systems. Smoking is not a medically acceptable delivery method. Alternative delivery systems, such as vaporizing, will be investigated to collect data on safety and efficiency. The Task Force will take the position that it is unethical to advocate or encourage smoking (or any other unsafe delivery method) for medical applications.
The Task Force will study various taxes and licenses specific to this stage of production.
3. The Distribution Model
The Task Force will establish a distribution system that will provide patients with safe access to medicine without turning into a thinly disguised store for contraband. In order to comply with Federal and medical criteria, we need to avoid the pitfalls that other states, like California and Colorado, have suffered.
This model will avoid the heavy taxation aimed directly at the patient. Although taxes will be applied to the growing and processing of medical cannabis, the patients should not be subject to direct tax exploitation in acquiring their medicine. Again, it is important to differentiate between medicinal and recreational use. By directly taxing the patient, as is done in California and Colorado, the sale of “medical” cannabis is no different from the sale of any non-medical product, including contraband.
The Task Force will investigate license reciprocity for out-of-state patients to provide visitors with a safe and uninterrupted supply of medicine.
Looking ahead – The Big Picture
By rescheduling cannabis concentrates and oils, the DEA & FDA have created a path we can take that will conform to US Federal standards, as well as create a major export crop for Hawaii’s family farmers. With the right system in place, Hawaii could eventually become the largest world supplier of pharmaceutical grade medical cannabis products.
By setting the proper groundwork, Hawaii legislators could create a multi-billion dollar medical cannabis industry, exporting medical cannabis concentrates made from the highest quality, island-grown Hawaiian genetic strains. This type of forward thinking could create many start-up companies here in Hawaii, serving mainland markets with superior medicines well before any competing systems are established.
SB1458, as it stands now (early April 2011), is not the answer. Federal rescheduling, as well as neglected (but active) tax considerations, guarantee that SB1458 will create a failed system no better than those in California and Colorado, without any of the benefits to Hawaii’s people that our proposal will create. We can do better:
1-year pilot Project
1. License a Medical Cannabis Genetic bank in Maui County for a one-year pilot project. License will be issued 1 July 2011
2. Project will be charged with gathering and documenting 15 strains of cannabis by 1 Dec 2011.
3. By 1 December 2011,Hawaii will issue permits on each island for a Cannabis seed/clone bank. Every seed/clone bank will be required to use the State Registered Genetic strains.
4. Each Hawaiian Genetic Cannabis Bank (HGCB) would be charged a fee of $2500 for a 1-year permit, with an agreed 5-year renewal.
5. Each island can permit at least one HGCB in 2011. HGCB will collect a $5.00 state medical Cannabis Plant Tax, which will be allocated to each county. Clone prices will range from (approximately) $15 to $30 per clone. No Patient or Care Giver could purchase more then seven clones at one time.
After 15 December 2011, the Maui Pilot project will start renting green house space to patients. Green House space rentals and service contracts will provide patients with a secure and reliable means to cultivate medicine. Rentals and services rendered will be the only exchange of funds. The $5 Plant Tax will be required, a normal GE and other Taxes will apply as in all Standard Business Practices.
The Task Force will Start 1 July 2011 and will report on Phase 1 by 1 December 2011; a report on Phase 2 will be issued by 15 January 2012.
Brian Murphy, Director
Patients Without Time
Maui County Citizens for Democracy in Action