Don’t be too hard on Hawaiian officials for messing up their legal marijuana market in the first week. Nevada, Oregon, and pretty much every other state that’s ever set up a regulated cannabis market has had some missteps along the way.
In what must be frustrating news for the islands’ medical marijuana patients, the only dispensary in the state has closed after only 5 days in business, as reported by Maui Now. The problem stems from a bottleneck in the state’s labs, which apparently were not equipped for the high volume of cannabis product in demand following medical legalization.
The state has essentially run out of lab-approved flowers after only days, though they plan to resume sales this Wednesday. But concentrates and other manufactured cannabis products never even got out the gate because of slow-working state regulators.
“We had planned to open with a full range of derivative products such as concentrates, oils, capsules and topical products, but at the eleventh hour we discovered that the State Labs Division had failed to certify a lab to conduct testing of manufactured products,” Christopher Cole, Director of Product Management for Maui Grown Therapies, told Maui Now.
“It’s unfortunate that an administrative hindrance of this magnitude prevents patients from getting the help they need,” Cole said.
Concentrates being unavailable to patients isn’t merely a matter of preference, as Gregory Park, MD, the co-founder of dispensary Maui Grown Therapies, pointed out. “It’s ironic that our vehemently anti-smoking Department of Health is forcing cannabis patients to smoke to get relief,” he said.
For now, tons (maybe literally) of cannabis is sitting on the shelves, while medical marijuana patients are unable to get it. This is especially frustrating after the long journey Hawaii has taken to implement its MMJ system, one which basically barred non-millionaires from entering the market.
“We could serve thousands of patients with the amount of manufactured product we currently have available for final compliance testing,” Cole said.
Photo via Flickr user Drone Picr