After lengthy delays, qualified medical-marijuana patients in Hawaii can finally obtain their medicine.

On Maui, anyway.

The state Department of Health on Tuesday said that the Maui Wellness Group, which does business as Maui Grown Therapies, is the first licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state permitted to begin selling medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The go-ahead comes after the the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection, according to the DOH.

Maui Grown Therapies, located on Paa Street in Kahului, is now allowed to sell “dried medical cannabis flowers,” according to a press release.

The dispensary will begin selling dried medical cannabis flowers when it opens to registered patients. A date has not yet been announced.

A Maui company is the first in Hawaii to be allowed to dispense medical marijuana. Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Health Director Virginia Pressler, a medical doctor, called the news “an important day … Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception.”

Under a Hawaii law passed two yars ago, registered patients and their caregivers can buy up to 4 ounces of medical cannabis over a consecutive 15-day period as well as a maximum of 8 ounces over a consecutive 30-day period.

Hawaii legalized medical pot in 2000 but only recently began setting up a process for patients to legally buy the drug. Dispensaries were expected to open last year, but, for various reasons, the DOH has taken much longer than expected to make that happen.

“Implementing a new health program is always challenging, and the dispensary program was no exception.” — Health Director Virginia Pressler

Late last month, the DOH finally certified the first lab in Hawaii to test medical marijuana, Steep Hill Hawaii Lab in Honolulu.

The DOH reminds patients that use of the medicine, as it has been described by advocates, must happen on private property, can’t be taken in a car, used at the beach and on hiking trails or in any other public space.

The pot must also be stored in a sealed container and “not visible to the public.”

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawaii: a second one on Maui, three on Oahu, two in Hawaii County and one on Kauai

The DOH says the dispensaries “are now at different stages of development by the licensees, and at varying stages of the approval process.”

Click here to learn more about the state’s medical cannabis program.

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