Woody Harrelson applied for a permit to open a marijuana dispensary


Haymitch Abernathy is branching out in business. Woody Harrelson, longtime marijuana advocate and Hawaii resident, has applied for a permit to open a marijuana dispensary in Honolulu County under his company, Simple Organic Living, LLC. Woody, who has lived in Maui for about 20 years, has always fought for industrial hemp and medical pot. If his permit is approved, Woody could open up to two retail dispensaries and two production centers. Hawaii was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 but you could not legally purchase pot; you either had to grow it yourself or buy it through illegal channels. This hiccup will be corrected when these dispensaries open this summer:

Outspoken pot advocate Woody Harrelson submitted one of 66 applications vying to open one of the Aloha State’s first medical marijuana dispensaries, according to a list posted by the Hawaii Department of Health on Friday.
The “Cheers” alum and longtime Hawaii resident applied under his company name, Simple Organic Living, LLC, to open a dispensary in Honolulu County.

Hawaii became the first state to legalize a medical marijuana program in 2000. The state’s recently adopted “dispensary bill” allows for the Department of Health to award eight initial licenses across the Big Island.

Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers also applied for a license under his company, Blue Planet Foundation, which advocates for energy independence across the state. Rogers, 61, is famous for designing the video game “Tetris” more than 20 years ago, and lives in Hawaii in an entirely solar-powered home.

Among other applicants include Dirk Fukushima, producer of the local television show, “Hawaii Stars,” and former University of Hawaii Regent Charles Kawakami.

If selected, dispensary applicants must have $1 million cash before applying for a licenses, plus $100,000 for each dispensary location. All applicants must have been Hawaii residents for more than five years.

Under a law passed in 2015, the state will grant eight licenses for marijuana business owners across the islands. The law allows medical marijuana businesses to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. Six are allowed on Oahu, four on Hawaii Island, four on Maui and two on Kauai.

Dispensaries are set to open in July.

[From NYDaily News and NBC News]

Marijuana is a pretty lucrative business with Marijuana Business Factbook projecting generated income at $8 billion by 2018. In addition, there is a possible tax loophole if any of these dispensaries open in an “enterprise zone,” which brings employers into economically depressed areas. Woody is smart to get into this market at its inception. In addition to a good business move, this furthers his promotion of legalized marijuana and hemp based products. Given some of his more eccentric moments, it would be easy to write Woody off as kooky but this is a cause he champions. Woody sits on The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) advisory board and purposefully got arrested in Kentucky when he planted hemp seeds on camera to protest the criminalization of hemp products. After being acquitted of the charges, he mingled with townsfolk and signed autographs, showing no hard feelings.



Photo credit: WENN and FameFlynet Photos

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21 Responses to “Woody Harrelson applied for a permit to open a marijuana dispensary”

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  1. Sara says:

    Some hemp plants can depollute soil that has been used for industrial purposes. Hemp is incredibly useful for textiles.
    I will never understand why alcohol is ok but marijuana is evil in many countries. In France, alcoholism is rampant but our tribunals are clogged up with people being tried for possession of tiny amounts of pot. Really a waste of money and time.

    • BengalCat2000 says:

      I’ll never understand it either. 22 years ago I was arrested for less than $10 worth of pot. Obviously things have gotten better in America thank God, but alcohol is still less stigmatized than marijuana.

    • Jwoolman says:

      Hemp seed (not psychotropic…) is very nutritious. High in protein, fiber, and omega-3. The butter is an odd shade of camouflage green but it’s tasty. But it’s had problems with the U.S. government because of our weird attitudes toward its Cannabis cousin, the marijuana plant. Years ago, I could only find it as a Canadian import and the jar explained right on the label that you would not get high from it…. Things loosened up later, now I have it in a vegan protein supplement and a vegan Parmesan cheese replacement as well. Always wondered if I’d flunk the drug test as a result…

  2. mkyarwood says:

    Consider my bucket list officially expanded.

    • Laura says:

      Agreed!! Even if it’s just to walk by the legal pot store owned by Woody & take pictures of it as I’m sure i won’t be able to purchase anything just yet. This is great news and I hope sincerely that we Americans can get over the pharmaceutical industry/gov’t brainwashing and accept pot for the wonderful, natural plant that it is.

    • CTgirl says:

      You have to figure that the guy knows more about weed than anyone else in the world. He’s definitely been the strongest advocate for weed, even when it was unpopular.

  3. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    Meh. The people I know who constantly smoke pot are boring, but the same can be said of the people who drink constantly. I’m glad we won’t be wasting time and money prosecuting people who possess a small amount of pot, but I can’t join in the celebration of it, for some reason. It seems like a step backwards, and I can’t say why. It’s not that I want people to be arrested for smoking it, I just wish our society didn’t want it. Probably because of my personal experiences with a family member turning from a promising, funny guy to a rambling bore that everyone tries to avoid at a party. I know that doesn’t happen to everybody.

    • Patricia says:

      Hmmm this is interesting to me because I know a lot of people who smoke a lot of pot and they are all very different. Some are artists, some are teachers, some are parents, some are all three, etc.
      I don’t think I know anyone who I consider more boring due to pot.
      But drinking, yes. The people I know who drink a lot are boring. All they talk about is drinking. And when they drink all they do is sit at home or sit in a bar. I actually can’t stand excessive drinking, whereas I always have fun with people when smoking pot.

      Maybe it just depends on who you know, and the kind of “pot culture” you are around?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, it probably depends. And I’m probably overreacting because of the person I mentioned. I blame the constant pot smoking for all of the changes in him, but maybe he was going to change into that person anyway. I just haven’t had great experiences with it.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I’m not fan of pot. I tried it once and found it boring and I have a friend whose brother’s mental health issues were most likely (you never know 100%) triggered by his pot smoking. He killed himself. A friend of mine is a psychiatrist and very much against the legalization of it because he says that unlike alcohol, pot can have severe effects on some people’s brain chemistry pretty quickly. It’s not necessarily a gateway drug but it can do more harm than people want to admit. More than alcohol? Hard to say. I don’t like people who are wasted and I don’t like people who are stoned or high. I’m too old, I don’t have the time. 😉

      On the other hand, the illegality of it – or any drug for that matter – hasn’t helped solve the problem at all. At ALL. It just costs money in more ways than most of us can count. We pay for the drugs, we finance drug cartels and with them we finance illegal arms trade and and wars, we pay our military to go to war in countries that then turn into narco states, we pay for it in human lives and in crime. Our legal system is not free either and then we put people in prison where they’ll have better access to drugs than anywhere else. And let’s not forget the treatment programs. I could go on. I don’t think there’s a simple answer and I completely understand that people aren’t invested in making drugs (any drug) legal. For the individual they can be terribly destructive. But for us as a society (I’m talking basically every western country) the illegality of drugs and the “war” on drugs haven’t done a damn thing.

      I do think that adults should be allowed to decide what to put into their bodies. If I can grow it, I should be allowed to consume it. But that’s a really unpopular opinion because it’s been drilled into us that drugs = BAD.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m inclined to agree about legalisation. I’m inclined to say legalise all drugs, regulate heavily, licence and regulate sellers, tax to high heaven, and use the proceeds to fund any resulting rehab or healthcare needs. Presumably, a fortune would be saved in policing, court system and prison system and associated organised crime would reduce.

        Drugs will cause harm (even if some people can and do use them without harm) whether they are legal or illegal. And that harm isn’t confined to the drug users themselves. Policy should be wired to which option results in least harm. If legalisation results in less harm overall, then drugs should be legal.

        Not sure there’s a politician living brave enough to push it through though!

      • Ankhel says:

        Personally, I’m a bit uneasy about legalization. A little use don’t seem to affect most people badly at all, economically or physically. But, I have a sister who’s a registered nurse and worked several years in a mental institution for youths. She said that a pretty steady stream of teenage patients trickled in because of pot. They had used, sometimes only once, and became psychotic. For some it was a permanent change, and the doctors seemed to think they might’ve been normal if not for pot. What a waste! Others became lucid again after a few days rest and treatment, and were released. Surprisingly though, those patients were quite often in denial about their psychotic breaks and the link with pot. They would use again, only to become ill again. Sis said they had a patient who’d return several saturdays each month! It was a tough job not getting exasperated… My point is, this kind of reaction only happen to a tiny percentage, and people do manage to buy whether it’s illegal or not. But I’m uneasy anyway – it’s impossible to predict who’ll have drastic responses to pot, and what they might do while psychotic.

    • SloaneY says:

      I don’t care what you want to take. It’s your decision, it is your body. However, this past week I’ve had 2 family members die of overdoses, a third that almost died 2 weeks ago, and a 4th that is in rehab. 3 of those 4 started with pot.
      Every pot smoker I’ve ever known is vehement about being able to quit any time they want because pot is not addictive/glorious/wonderful. But none of them can seem to go a few days without it.
      While I do think it has positive effects for certain medical conditions, I think it also has very negative effects that we don’t want to admit. Who wants to admit that something that makes you feel good isn’t really that great for you?
      But again, it’s your body, your choice.

      • Amelie says:

        Both SloaneY and littlemissnaughty make many good points. I am still on the side of the fence that would tread lightly on expansion of use of marijuana for medical reasons. I am especially concerned re: it’s use for children. Advocates say that it helps with seizures and Tourettes etc. but most pediatricians-at least in my town-are very wary re: its use due to possible brain damage (on children). The research I have seen indicates that marijuana also has a permanent effect on the adult brain. My view may be alot more conservative than most….

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        Amelie, I do think medical use is a whole different beast though. That needs to be researched but likely won’t because there’s no money to make. Research only benefits a company when it leads to a product but this is something that everyone can grow in their backyard. At least that’s what big pharma companies seem to think. Technically, that’s true. But I think most of us are lazy *cough* and would not suddenly start growing weed when we’re actually sick. That’s when you start buying it. There’s also the quality issue. Still, nobody seems that committed.

    • Carol says:

      My concern with pot is that it’s often used by people to avoid dealing with life problems or stresses (this has been my experience seeing family members suffer from substance addiction). Especially young people. I’d rather see a movement on creating centers or ways to help people learn more productive ways to cope with stress. I don’t want to see people going to jail or being arrested because they bought $5 of pot. That’s crazy. But I am concerned that legalizing pot for recreational use will open up a pandoras box that can’t be easily shut. BTW – I am fully aware that alcohol is used to by people to numb themselves as well. But just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean something else should be too. I know I’m the minority in this opinion too.

  4. Nancy says:

    I agree with Sara and BengalCat above. On a completely different note, I love Woody Harrelson no matter what his personal life is. He is no pretty boy, just a damn good and in my opinion underrated actor. You’ve come a long way since Cheers Woody!

  5. Jwoolman says:

    Rogers may have designed another incarnation of Tetris, but it was invented by a Russian originally for the computer, I assume. The original Tetris on the Nintendo Gameboy had delightful Russian music. There was some parting of the ways, though, apparently over money. I had given the original Gameboy version to a friend and thought later I could just get another copy, but alas- the Russian music was replaced by something boring by then. The original became a collector’s item. I think the 8-bit Nintendo version went through the same change since its original version was shockingly expensive on the used game market but the version I had did not have the original music.

    I just checked my copy of Tetris Blitz for the iPhone, developed by EA, and it lists Alexey Pajitnov as the creator and says they licensed it from The Tetris Company, which Wikipedia says is Pajitnov’s company. He must be floating in royalties by now. Can’t even envision life without Tetris in all its different forms on all its different platforms.

  6. NeoCleo says:

    It makes a great deal of sense that Harrelson is getting involved in this business. The dispensaries here in Sacramento practically have to print their own money they pull in so many customers. I wish I had the dough to invest myself.

  7. Emily C. says:

    I’m surprised just because it took him so long. Well, good for him, and hopefully he’ll sell at low/no prices to people who need it for medical reasons.

  8. Lillylizard says:

    Dracula in charge of the blood bank.