Maui dispensary seeks final approval to grow medical marijuana - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui dispensary seeks final approval to grow medical marijuana

MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A Valley Isle business is hoping to open Hawaii's first medical marijuana dispensary. Officials with Maui Wellness Group, LLC said they're waiting for final approval from the state to start cultivating the crop. The company, which calls itself Maui Grown Therapies, plans to start selling medical cannabis by early January.

"The production site is located in upcountry Maui in Kula on privately owned agricultural land. We're leasing about seven acres," said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs. "We've got a solar-powered grow facility planned."

The business currently has 11 staff members, but that will eventually increase to 25 to 30 employees.

Dr. Greg Yim, the group's chief medical officer, will provide education to patients, families, and practitioners to help clear up any misconceptions.

"We're making a large effort to be a part of the community and to follow all the regulations. It's going to be safe. It's going to be well monitored, so I don't believe there's going to be any type of resistance," said Yim.

Maui Grown Therapies plans to finish construction work on its dispensary in Central Maui by December. The group will hold a community meeting before revealing the location of its retail center. Once the state Department of Health gives the approval for cultivation, medical marijuana products will be ready for sale in three to four months, according to Freitas Gorman.

"We'll be starting with flowers as the production program takes a little bit to ramp up, but shortly thereafter we'll be offering a full range of products, including tinctures, lozenges, oils," Freitas Gorman said.

A DOH spokesman said the new industry is complex, and final approval requires compliance with all county and state regulations.

"It's really ensuring that they are in compliance with everything, that any other permits or licenses have been obtained from those other programs, those other departments," explained Keith Ridley, chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance.

The eight groups that received dispensary licenses are at various stages of their operations, according to Ridley. He said sales are unlikely to start until the end of this year or early 2017.


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