Hawaii lab to begin testing medical marijuana
Hawaii was among the first states to legalise medical marijuana in 2000, but it didn't legalise dispensaries for another 15 years. Medical pot dispensaries began opening in the state this summer, but they couldn't sell their products because the state hadn't certified any labs to conduct the required testing.
On Monday, state health officials changed that, approving Honolulu-based lab Steep Hill Hawaii. The lab is the first to begin testing samples of medical marijuana and brings Hawaii one step closer to the long-awaited date when dispensaries can sell their products.
"This is a big milestone, and it couldn't have come any sooner, because many people within the industry were getting frustrated and a little angry at the time it has taken to get to this point," said state Senator Will Espero, a Democrat. "But now that we are here, hopefully, the next phase in terms of sales will happen quickly and everything will go smoothly."
Once the lab receives samples, it will take about four days to test and return products to dispensaries for sale, said Dana Ciccone, owner of Steep Hill Hawaii.
The product at Honolulu-based dispensary Aloha Green has been ready for months, and dispensary CEO James H.Q. Lee said he hopes to begin the lab testing process Tuesday.
Maui Grown Therapies also is ready to begin testing its product, said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs at the dispensary.