State briefs: Hawaii Senate committee approves edible medical cannabis

HONOLULU — A Hawaii state Senate committee has granted preliminary approval to a bill authorizing the sale of edible medical cannabis products.

Even if the bill passes the Legislature , the products are unlikely to be legally available in the state for many months, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

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Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health Committee Chairwoman Rosalyn Baker, a Democrat, said the state Department of Health would have to develop rules and regulations before edible cannabis products can be sold.

The health department would set guidelines on dosages, ingredients and packaging.

The bill would authorize licensed dispensaries to sell edible cannabis products that include child-resistant packaging and proper labeling.

More than half of cannabis programs in other states require preapproval of edible products and restrict the ir ingredients or flavorings, the department said.

Tuesday’s amendments to the bill gave the Hawaii health department authority to preapprove any edibles and impose limits on ingredients, flavorings and additives, Baker said.

The bill was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.

Sales of cannabis edibles are opposed by the Honolulu Police Department and the state Department of Transportation. Transportation officials warn that edible cannabis products may not affect users until hours after they are consumed.

The measure is backed by the Hawaii Cannabis Industry Association, which represents the state’s eight licensed medical cannabis dispensaries.

Grandmother who helped convict Honolulu power couple dies

HONOLULU — The grandmother of a former Honolulu deputy city prosecutor who was at the center of a federal corruption case has died.

Family attorney Eric Seitz said in an that Florence Puana died at her home Thursday morning. She was 100.

Puana is the grandmother of Katherine Kealoha, who led a unit in the Honolulu prosecutor’s office that focused on career criminals. Kealoha and her retired Honolulu police chief husband Louis Kealoha were accused of defrauding relatives, banks and children to maintain a lavish lifestyle.

The testimony of Florence Puana was “central to establishing one of the motives behind the charged conspiracy,” prosecutors said in court documents.

Katherine Kealoha stole money from her grandmother and uncle and when they threatened to expose the fraud, Kealoha tried to have her grandmother declared incapacitated and framed her uncle for a crime he did not commit, prosecutors said.

Military housing rentals offered to Hawaii school teachers

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Education has launched a new program allowing teachers to live in military rental housing, an official said.

The initiative is aimed at addressing the problem of retaining and recruiting teachers, Hawaii Public Radio reported Wednesday.

Education officials approached the military during a forum about opportunities for teacher housing, said Cynthia Covell of the department’s Office of Talent Management.

The department partnered with Island Palm Communities, a private company that leases military homes.

Public school teachers can apply to live in military housing at the U.S. Army’s Schofield Barracks on Oahu.

Rent would be $2,500 per month for two-bedroom house s and $2,600 for three-bedroom homes.

“These are full homes with garages,” Covell said, adding that the rent “covers utilities and all the amenities on the base.”

“So they get a base access pass, which grants them free entry into the fitness centers,” Covell said. “They can actually shop at the base facilities, except for the commissaries.”

Single teachers could share the houses to reduce rental costs, Covell said.

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An education department study found the state’s high cost of living is one of the greatest challenges for staffing public schools.

“Housing is tight for everybody that works here in the state,” Covell said. “Whatever we could do to help them in that area is good for recruiting and retention.”