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Hawaii's First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Temporarily Closes Due to Testing Backlog

The state’s inability to test cannabis products in a timely fashion has resulted in a retail marijuana shortage.

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It’s been less than a week since Hawaii’s first-ever medical marijuana dispensary opened for business, and already the operation has been forced to temporarily close its doors after selling out of cannabis over the weekend.

A report from Maui News shows that Maui Grown Therapies, the island’s first dispensary since the state legalized medical marijuana 17 years ago, is now waiting on the Department of Heath’s State Labs Division to give their cannabis products the green light, so they can begin servicing patients again. This clearance was expected to happen ahead of the weekend shortage, but the state has, so far, failed to provide the next lot with a clean lab certification.

Officials with Maui Grown said action by the health department is necessary in order “to help unclog a backlog of products so Maui patients can have access to quality-assured medicinal cannabis products.”

The dispensary is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday for customers who make appointments through the company’s website.

“It’s unfortunate that an administrative hindrance of this magnitude prevents patients from getting the help they need,” Christopher Cole, director of product management for Maui Grown Therapies, said in a statement.

“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,” he added.

State health officials have not yet offered up an explanation for their inability to test these products in a timely fashion. But the snag, at least, according to the folks at Maui Grown, has put a hindrance on the overall efficacy of the state’s medical marijuana program.

"We could serve thousands of patients with the amount of manufactured product we currently have available for final compliance testing," Cole said. "Even though we were approved by the Department of Health on May 24 to manufacture cannabis products, the restrictions placed on the state's only licensed lab have prevented us from offering these products to our patients — and it is entirely unclear to us when this will change."

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