LIHUE — The more than 1,600 registered medical marijuana patients on Kauai may not be getting their medicine at a licensed dispensary in July.
Department of Health officials said facility inspections of the state’s eight licensees have yet to take place. That means dispensaries won’t be ready to open a retail establishment by July 15, the earliest date legislators allowed them to start selling medicine to registered patients.
“The Department of Health is unable to predict the progress by each licensee because there are a number of requirements that are outside of our department’s control,” said Janice Okubo, DOH spokeswoman.
Shane Peters, spokesman for Green Aloha Ltd., the sole dispensary on Kauai, declined to comment, but said he would be able to share information on its status in July.
“Green Aloha Ltd. is doing their best to open in a manner that allows their operation to exceed expectation,” said Christopher Garth, executive director of the Hawaii Dispensary Alliance, a medical marijuana advocacy group.
Although he’s unaware of the operational status of each dispensary, Garth speculates that at least one dispensary will begin selling as early as October.
“Hopefully we can have someone opening their doors that have a robust menu and quality tested products by the end of year,” he said.
Hawaii legalized medical marijuana 16 years ago, and there are over 14,000 registered medical marijuana cardholders in the state.
Next steps for medical marijuana dispensary licenses by the DOH including establishing enclosed indoor facilities; installing 24-hour security measures; obtaining a certificate to possess and handle marijuana and manufactured marijuana products; hire employees; and install a computer software system that will track the product from seed to sale, and disposal or destruction.
As for the production center, there must be fencing that surrounds the premises and it must be sufficient to reasonably deter intruders and prevent anyone outside the premises from viewing any marijuana in any form.