Living the Dream: Helen Cho

Thanks to Hawaii’s new reciprocity legislation, Aloha Green Apothecary prepares to welcome qualifying cannabis patients visiting from other U.S. states.

Helen Cho

Director of Strategy

Aloha Green Apothecary

Honolulu, HI

Ready to come to Hawaii? Because we are ready for you! Hawaii has just started allowing patients with green cards from other states to access our medical dispensaries. For a state like Hawaii, where tourism is a major pillar of the economy, this is a big deal. Reciprocity begins to open our market to the 800,000-plus monthly visitors who come to experience our paradise of sunshine, beaches and aloha.

While we can’t be sure how much this will affect our young and growing cannabis industry, Aloha Green Apothecary has been preparing to handle an influx of new patients. Hawaii is a heavily regulated cannabis market, and the rules around reciprocity don’t fling our doors wide open, but it is a major step in the right direction to ensure that those who visit Hawaii can get access to medicine that the majority of the country recognizes as effective and legitimate.

As exciting as the news was for us, it also meant that we had to make major changes to our operations and train our staff to handle a new kind of customer while remaining compliant. We had everything in place when the news was announced and the registration platform went live, and our company made Hawaii’s very first out-of-state patient sale the day reciprocity took effect.

Each state that has legalized (or is in the process of legalizing) cannabis has done so at its own pace, considering the factors that uniquely affect its citizens and addressing concerns that pop up at each level of adoption. As owners and operators, it is important for us to work with our governmental and regulatory counterparts to make this complex and messy process as painless as possible. In preparation of reciprocity, Aloha Green Apothecary cooperated closely with the Hawaii Department of Health to beta test the registration platform and review the criteria around reciprocity. We remain in regular contact with our regulators to communicate how the process is unfolding. Working with trust, dialogue and respect makes the difficult task of changing the face of modern medicine much more effective and meaningful.

If you are interested in checking us out in person (and you fit the requirements for reciprocity), my offer to Marijuana Venture readers to come visit Aloha Green Apothecary still stands. We recommend that you visit our website (www.agapoth.com) to learn more about the specific rules for visitors getting a 329V Hawaii Visitor Medical Cannabis Card and ask for Helen when you get here — I’ll show you around our dispensary and our beautiful island home!

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