The state Department of Health has certified the first lab in Hawaii to test medical cannabis.

The certification of Steep Hill Hawaii Lab in Honolulu is welcome news to medical marijuana companies that have been eager to open their doors.

“We are one step closer to providing long-awaited medicine to our community,” said Tai Cheng, chief operating officer of Aloha Green, a medical cannabis dispensary on King Street, in a press release.

Aloha Green opened already, but hasn’t been able to sell any cannabis products. Instead, it’s lost thousands of dollars every month on rent and salaries, the company has said.

Steep Hill Hawaii's Ultra high performance chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometer with Biochemist Caleb King. This device can analyze active compounds found in cannabis flowers. According to their site, tests for potency, and safety of cannabis products.
Biochemist Caleb King from Steep Hill Hawaii Lab with a device that can analyze active compounds in cannabis flowers. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Helen Cho, spokeswoman for Aloha Green, said the company still needs to test its products and go through a final inspection with the health department before it will be able to sell cannabis to patients.

Hawaii legalized medical marijuana in 2000 but patients had to grow their own or find a caregiver to help. Dispensaries were legalized in 2015 and originally expected to open a year ago. But the state has been plagued by numerous delays.

“It’s good that they finally were able to certify a laboratory considering that it’s been a long wait,” said Sen. Will Espero, who helped write the medical cannabis dispensary law. “I know the industry is very relieved and happy but we still need to get to that first sale.”

Maui Grown Therapies sent out an optimistic email Monday to newsletter subscribers.

“We hope to announce our soft opening date within the next several days,” the dispensary company said.

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