(BIVN) – Big Island Grown Dispensaries has been given state approval to begin retail sales of medical cannabis at the company’s second location on the Big Island and the first in Waimea.
The Hawai‘i State Department of Health today announced it has issued a formal notice to proceed to Lau Ola LLC, doing business as Big Island Grown Dispensaries for its retail center located at 64-1040 Mamalahoa Highway in Kamuela after passing its final onsite inspection.
Big Island Grown Dispensaries opened its first retail location in Hilo earlier this year in January, and also launched a website. There are now nine licensed retail dispensary locations operating on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui and Hawai‘i Island, the health department says.
“We appreciate the ongoing efforts of licensees to meet Hawai‘i’s rigorous standards while continuing to expand their operations to provide for the needs of registered patients,” said Michele Nakata, supervisor of DOH’s Medical Cannabis Dispensary Licensing Program, in a media release. “The health department is committed to protecting the safety of patients and the public through the licensing program’s strict security and product quality standards.”
According to the health department:
There are more than 24,000 patients and over 1,800 caregivers registered statewide. Nearly 30 percent of these patients and 20 percent of the caregivers reside on Hawai‘i Island. As of Jan. 31, 2019, there were approximately 6,814 registered patients and 388 caregivers on Hawai‘i Island. The primary qualifying medical condition reported for adult registered patients is severe pain. The primary reported condition for children under 18 years of age is seizures.
A second licensed company on Hawaiʻi Island, Hawaiian Ethos, was allowed to acquire and cultivate cannabis in August 2018. A message its website says the company expects to open a Kona location in the first quarter of 2019.
This week, the health department also announced it was opening registration for the first time to qualified out-of-state patients. The state also unveiled an “advanced online system with an electronic registration card for qualified in-state and out-of-state patients.”
“Qualified patients who register using the new system will be among the first in the nation to have the convenience of accessing their medical cannabis cards electronically,” the state said. “The new system allows qualified patients to obtain an electronic registration card quickly and easily, often within the same day. The electronic registration card will eliminate the wait time for patients to receive their hard copy registration card in the mail. For many patients who rely on medical cannabis to treat their qualifying health conditions, time is of the essence.”
This video was produced by the health department to assist patients.
“The introduction of Hawai‘i’s electronic medical cannabis card is a major step in improving access to medical cannabis for qualified patients in Hawai‘i and out-of-state patients in the 37 other jurisdictions where medical cannabis is allowed. These include 32 other states, four U.S. territories and the District of Columbia,” said Dr. Bruce Anderson, director of the Hawai‘i Department of Health. “These patients may now legally obtain medical cannabis from any of the local licensed retail dispensaries while visiting the islands.
“Local dispensaries can now verify registered in-state and out-of-state patients with electronic cards and allow purchases of medical cannabis,” noted Tami Whitney of the department’s Medical Cannabis Registry Program. “Dispensaries will also help educate visitors on state laws and regulations that govern the use of medical cannabis in Hawai‘i, such as restrictions on public use and transport.”