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Woody Harrelson: Actor, Activist, Ganjapreneur

Woody Harrelson has never been one to waste his spotlight. Since nearly the beginning of his long and prolific career, the actor has worked tirelessly to use the good fortune his acting skills have amassed to support and spotlight causes in which he believes, the foremost of them being the legalization of cannabis. From the charities he’s supported to the documentaries he’s helped to create, all the way to his famous arrest for planting a hemp seed on public property, Harrelson has been a front line fighter for the cause that now has become a billion dollar business.

“I do smoke, but I don’t go through all this trouble just because I want to make my drug of choice legal,” the Marijuana Majority quotes him as saying.  “It’s about personal freedom. We should have the right in this country to do what we want, if we don’t hurt anybody. Seventy-two million people in this country have smoked pot. Eighteen to 20 million in the last year. These people should not be treated as criminals.”

Now, with legalization sweeping the country thanks in part to his efforts, it would only make sense for Harrelson to begin to cash in on the new green rush and transform his passion into a revenue stream. After all, Snoop’s already tapped in with his signature cannabis line, Leafs by Snoop. Even Ninety Eight Degrees’ Nick Lache has joined in the fun, being one of the individuals that tried to buy into the monopoly­ behind the ill-fated ResponsibleOhio.

Harrelson’s staking his claim in Hawaii as one of around 60 applicants vying to break into the newly minted medical market. Though medical marijuana has been technically legal in the state for 16 years, it wasn’t until the passage of two bills this past July that there was an established structure by which patients could legally obtain their medicine. The respective bills were HB 321, which established the legality of dispensaries and SB 1291 which strengthened the rights of patients to use the plant without fear of incarceration.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project:

HB 321 initially allows eight dispensaries (three on Oahu, two each on Big Island and Maui, and one on Kauai) with two locations each. Starting in 2017, the state health department will be allowed to issue more licenses as needed. Each dispensary license will allow the license holder to have two cultivation sites with up to 3,000 plants, as well as the two dispensing locations that must be separate from the cultivation locations.

Harrelson is applying to open dispensaries under his business name, Simple Organic Living. The process is by no means cheap. ABC reports that if selected, Harrelson will then have to produce $1 million in cash up front, plus another $100,000 per location.

Dispensaries in the state are set to open this July. For more information on Hawaii’s new medical marijuana system, click here.

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