Hawaii has been given the green light to open up dispensaries for medical marijuana patients, but when will that happen?
We take a closer look at what still needs to be done before cannabis goes out to customers.
It has been nearly a year since the state granted eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses, but it wasn’t until last month that several licensees started pot production.
“We are currently growing medical marijuana, and finishing off our full production facilities. We will soon begin construction of our dispensary,” said Manoa Botanicals CEO Brian Goldstein.
A backlog of construction projects isn’t the only reason for the delay in ramping up Manoa Botanicals’ indoor growing site and building its dispensary.
“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,” said Goldstein.
One milestone is labs that will test products need to be certified by the state.
“We’re not allowed to sell any medicine that has not been tested,” said Goldstein.
“We are verifying the labs that will performing potency and contamination testing for medical marijuana so it meets international standards,”
said State Laboratory Director Dr. Chris Whelen.
A number of labs have applied to certify medical marijuana, but that entail purchasing high tech equipment like a mass spectrometer, which can be used to analysis products.
Using high pressure, marijuana samples can be separated and filtered to find any contaminates like heavy metals or mold.
“Some of the patients using these products are particularly susceptible to certain types of infections. So we want to make sure the types of molds that cause infections in debilitated patients are not there,” added Whelen.
Harmful bacteria, including e-coli and salmonella are also a concern in medical marijuana.
“Patients undergoing chemo