KAPAA — Medical marijuana is now available for the first time on Kauai. The new dispensary in Kapaa opened Monday and is called Have a Heart, operated by Green Aloha Ltd.
A line of registered patients waited to sample its cannabis products Monday as their doors opened.
“Our first day has been extremely busy so far,” said Casey Rothstein, chief operating officer for Green Aloha. “We have sold through almost everything we had pre-packaged, and we have our guys up at the facility packaging as much as they can, as fast as they can.”
The licensed dispensary had 55 scheduled appointments on their first day and nearly as many walk-in customers waiting with their medical marijuana cards in hand. By early afternoon, the store had already sold all of their sativa-dominant hybrid harvest but still had plenty of their indica strain and more of the award-winning “Purple Punch” hybrid on the way.
“We’ll be adding more strains and products over the next few months,” Rothstein said. “It was a slow difficult process getting through the county permitting, but we’re here and working hard to provide clean safe medicine.”
The Hawaii State Department of Health issued a notice to proceed after the Kauai dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed the final on-site inspection of its retail facility.
“Unfortunately we only have a few of our products available right now,” Rothstein said. “It’s going through the state track-ability system, and it takes a lot of time to get stuff approved.”
The state has strict tracking and testing, so each product has to go through its own approval process.
“We have to grow 100 percent of our products,” Rothstein said. “We have CBD and THC kief coming in the next few days. We going to be adding lozenges and tinctures in the next couple of weeks.”
A number of excited people waited outside the small store, many of them elderly people interested in treating a variety of ailments. No one would comment on the record about visiting the dispensary.
One 72-year-old customer from Kealia was waiting in line and did not wish to share her name because of stigmas associated with “pot.” She was was prescribed marijuana for arthritis and insomnia, which she said has allowed her hands to stop hurting so she can sleep.
Another senior patient with a walker, looking to treat pain from a spinal fusion and herniated disc, was unable to purchase because her medical marijuana card was expired.
“It’s a great thing to be able to safely go to a store and not feel like a criminal and get your medicine,” Rothstein said.
Another customer who wished not to be named was a 70-year-old doctor from Kalaheo who has recovered from cancer three times. He has been a member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and advocate for almost 50 years.
“All I wanted was a simple thing like this, and it took years and years,” he said.
Have a Heart is at 4-1565 Kuhio Highway and across the street from the Library/Neighborhood Center on mauka side.