Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensaries being allowed to open, but the industry has still not been able to get off the ground.
Of the eight dispensary licensees, all but two have received state approval to begin growing cannabis, and at least three have marijuana ready to sell.
The dispensaries haven’t opened because the state Department of Health hasn’t certified any of the three laboratories — PharmLabs Hawaii, Clinical Laboratories of Hawaii and Steep Hill Labs — that will test the marijuana’s potency and purity. The DOH said it is still conducting validation studies with the labs and expects to certify them this summer.
The delays have been frustrating for both the dispensaries and patients.
“Everyone’s trying their best and working their hardest to build this industry, including the Department of Health. However, it has been a year, and it has been financially extremely taxing,” said Helen Cho, director of integrated strategy for Aloha Green Holdings Inc., one of the three Oahu dispensaries that is ready to open. “If the delays continue for much longer,