Medicial Marijuana has been legal in Hawaii since 2000. However access to the medicinal cannabis has been a challenge for everyone involved.
Fast forward seventeen years later. The state of Hawaii certified and opened its first marijuana testing lab on July 31st, 2017. A week later, the state’s first medicical marijuana dispensary (Maui Grown Therapies) was able to sell the cannabis flower to 329 medicinal marijuana card holders. Now, the state’s first medicinal cannabis dispensary has to close its doors for two days to give the state’s lab division a chance to unclog a backlog of products for Medical marijuana patients.
The summer of 2017, has been a very productive year for the state’s medicinal marijuana rules and guidelines in Hawaii. At the end of June the plant count increased per resistered patient, more conditions were eligible for medicinal marijuana solutions, caregivers can grow for patients, and a new grow site limit was established. During the month of July, Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) were added to the list of qualifying caregivers to prescribe medicinal marijuana and Department of Health’s Administrative Rules for the Medical Use of Cannabis were established.
While the government was making strides, potential medical marijuana business owners have been waiting potentially to open after paying hefty fees to get their dispensary licenses. Business Owners have spent upwards of $75,000, up front, and have had to maintain their licenses, with hefty six figure fees, while the state was getting their product testing lab situated and passing legal rules and regulations.
Maui Grown Therapies has been the only dispensary that has paid the fees and upfront costs to obtain and maintain their dispensary license and actually open. Now they are forced to close for two days after running out of product during their first week of opening because the state’s testing lab is overwhelmed. It will be interesting to see how the medical cannabis industry in Hawaii will overcome these challenges as the industry grows.