The Hawai’i State Department of Health has given the nod to Hawaiian Ethos, LLC for the first medical cannabis production center on the state’s Big Island.
The DOH says the company has met all requirements to begin growing cannabis and to manufacture products for medicinal purposes at their approved facility. Currently Hawaiian Ethos expects to open a dispensary at its Kona location first, followed by one in Hilo.
Companies must build a secure, enclosed indoor facility, use computer software tracking systems that communicate with the state’s system and upload current inventory data of all marijuana seeds, plants and manufactured products. Additionally, they must gain authorisation from the Narcotics Enforcement Division of the Hawai‘i, State Department of Public Safety.
Licenses for Hawaii’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary program were issued in May 2016. 60 applied, but only 8 licenses were granted. That was just the start of a long journey for all those involved. It wasn’t until August last year that the first two medical cannabis dispensaries, established in Maui and O‘ahu, were given permission to go ahead with sales.
Each dispensary is permitted to operate two production centers and two retail sites, making for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary across the island state, and each production center can grow up to 5,000 cannabis plants.
The latest statistics from the DOH indicate there were 21,705 valid patients enrolled in the Hawai’i’s program as at July 31. It’s currently issuing around 1,500 medical cannabis cards each month.
It works out around 1.5% of Hawai’i’s entire population has a medical cannabis card.
Hawai’i was the the first U.S. state to implement a cashless system for medical cannabis related services.
Medical cannabis has been legal in the state for 18 years, but up until last year patients and caregivers needed to cultivate their own plants. As well as sourcing cannabis medicines from dispensaries, registered patients are still able to home-grow. Up to ten plants can be grown and no more than 4oz of usable cannabis can be possessed at any time.