Hawaiian Ethos CEO dies

  • William K. “Billy” Richardson

HILO — The chief executive officer of one of Hawaii Island’s first medical marijuana dispensary companies has died.

William K. “Billy” Richardson, an Oahu-based venture capitalist recruited during summer 2016 to lead Hawaiian Ethos, died Nov. 10 in his sleep. He was 62. Richardson suffered from kidney disease, complicated by a heart condition.

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Hawaiian Ethos leaders declined to comment this week about how Richardson’s death would affect company plans but said more information would be made available in the coming months. The company said in a statement it was “saddened by the loss of our CEO.”

“Our team will preserve the vision and values Bill instilled in the company through continued dedication to serving Hawaii Island patients in the coming years,” the statement reads.

Hawaiian Ethos is one of two companies preparing to open the Big Island’s first dispensaries. The other company is Lau Ola, led by former banana farmer Richard Ha.

Hawaiian Ethos told West Hawaii Today last month it was tentatively hoping to open by February.

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Chief Operating Officer Zachary Taffany said at the time the company received the green light from the state but was waiting on county approval. Hawaiian Ethos plans to open storefronts in Hilo and Kona.

Email Kirsten Johnson at kjohnson@hawaiitribune-herald.com.