This week scored a mark in history for medical cannabis patients in the Aloha State. Initial sales went into effect on Tuesday on Maui and Wednesday on Oahu at two of the state-licensed dispensaries on the island chain. Although eight dispensaries have been granted licenses by the state’s Department of Health, business owners had been unable to get their product to consumers. Until recently, the Health Department had not approved any testing labs as certified for cannabis quality control.
Maui Grown Therapies opened its doors on Tuesday in Kahului, following approved laboratory testing and a final onsite inspection on Monday. The dispensary has already registered about 300 of the approximate 4,000 patients on Maui, and began sales by appointment this week. Oahu’s first operating dispensary, Aloha Green, opened to public sales on Wednesday to a crowd of excited patients. There’s good news on the horizon for patients from the mainland as well; the state is scheduled to establish registration rules for out-of-state patients by start of 2018.
Hawaii Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler noted in a statement issued Wednesday:
“Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception. With legal guidance from Department of the Attorney General, the DOH team paved the way for this new industry in Hawai’i and has set a new standard for dispensary programs other states can emulate.”
The statement also reminded patients of their own rules for individual legal compliance:
“Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space. It is illegal to use or possess medical cannabis on any federally owned property such as military installations and national parks. When bringing medical cannabis home after purchasing it from a dispensary, the medical cannabis must be in a sealed container and not visible to the public.”