After a ridiculous amount of anticipation, last Friday was supposed to be the first day dispensaries in Hawaii could legally open. This is after waiting more than 15 years since medical marijuana was legalized in the state. Unfortunately not a single dispensary opened. Apparently none of the state’s dispensaries have all the necessary certifications to open at this point. What’s even more frustrating is that it is completely out of their control and might not be changing anytime soon. The long awaited first day that came last Friday ended up being a total bust and had people feeling disappointed and let down. This is a continuing trend of disappointments involving medical marijuana in Hawaii, including the fact they don’t allow edibles.
The dispensaries in Hawaii have a lot of hoops to jump through. They need to obtain a certificate from the narcotics enforcement before they can set up their required indoor crop growing operation. Plus all the building permits for their location. The biggest obstacle they face is actually something much more daunting. The state hasn’t certified a lab to test the products. It sounds like a great idea to legally require lab testing products, but apparently this certification is no joke and not readily handed out to labs. Hawaii hasn’t gotten even one application from a lab that is interested. This is because the lab would need to be certified at an international status, which is a actually a somewhat prestigious status for a lab to have. Hawaiian medical patients will have to resort to the same methods of getting their medicine that they’ve done for the last 15 years. That’s about 13,000 people forced to either grow it themselves, find a caregiver, or turn to the black market for their medicine. That number is rapidly growing, especially now that nurses can give medical marijuana recommendations in Hawaii.
One lab in Hawaii that is actually working on the application is Spectra Analytical Lab. If they did get approved they would be testing the products for potency and for traces of dangerous substances like fungus. The lab hopes to be certified and open sometime in December, but they can’t be sure. Other labs haven’t expressed much interest in putting in all the work to become internationally certified, just to work with the medical marijuana industry inside the state. There are a few dispensary owners that are holding out hope that they can open by the end of the year, but I think 2017 seems much more likely. In the meantime let’s just hope that no other restrictions arise so that dispensaries in Hawaii can finally open next year.