Hawaii’s medical marijuana patients have been waiting almost a year since dispensaries were granted business licenses. There still isn’t a single dispensary open yet. A few of the licensees just started growing last month, so they are still about three months away from opening.
Eight licenses were granted for dispensaries in Hawaii, KITV News reports. Some of the delay is due to construction issues. Labs also need to test the products before the dispensaries are permitted to sell the products to patients.
Brian Goldstein, CEO of Manoa Botanicals, said, “We are currently growing marijuana, and finishing off our full production facilities. We will soon begin construction of our dispensary.”
He also said, “It is hard for anyone to give a starting date because there are 2 major milestones that need to be achieved by the state, before we can open our dispensary.”
Regarding testing labs, State Laboratory Director Dr. Chris Whelen said, “We are verifying the labs that will be performing potency and contamination testing for medical marijuana so it meets international standards.”
Due to some patients having compromised immune systems, it is necessary to ensure that the medical marijuana produced is safe. This requires labs to have specific equipment and specific staff.
Labs are required to have experts on staff along with a 3rd party accreditation. Lab applications are currently undergoing approval procedures.
Dr. Whelen said, “I think sufficient progress has been made that I’m optimistic the labs will be ready.”
The patient registry and seed-to-sale tracking system also require connecting before dispensaries can open.
Goldstein said, regarding a potential opening day, that, “We’re looking forward to opening our first dispensary later this year.”
No one has an exact date yet, but expect it to be in the second half of 2017.