Hawaii Educational Cannabis Festival Held at Famous Market

A Hawaii educational cannabis festival recently took place where a lot of people expressed their frustration over medical marijuana rules on the island state. Hawaii has had a lot of trouble implementing medical cannabis laws but demand is strong. Hawaii is not alone in its difficulties, as other states have had their problems too. The biggest challenges the state is facing is that there are only 2 dispensaries planned to open between all of the islands and lab-testing has been slow to setup and can still only test flower.

KALAPANA — There was music playing, vendors selling trinkets and plenty of education underway Friday as members of the Big Island’s medical marijuana community gathered for the All Things Cannabis Hemp Festival.

The first-ever community education event was held at the Uncle Robert’s Awa Bar, about a week-and-a-half after Hawaii’s first medical marijuana dispensaries opened on Oahu and Maui.

Many patients who attended the festival told the Tribune-Herald they’ve been frustrated by delays in the state’s dispensary program.

“We’re severely disappointed,” said Jack Robins, 64, who said he’s a medical marijuana patient and a longtime cannabis oil maker who lives in Pahoa. “It’s kind of common sense. For 17 years there’s been nothing and now they’re going to open this up and yet there are only going to be two of them — I think we need one on every street corner.”

“There are no dispensaries open (on Hawaii Island) and (it’s unclear) when they’re going to open because when they have estimated they’ll be open they’re wrong and then wrong again,” added Mountain View medical marijuana patient Aaron Zeeman, 49, noting he worries potentially high dispensary prices could also deter many Big Island residents from using them. “So everything they say turns out to not be true.”

Hawaii’s dispensaries have legally been able to open for more than a year though they’ve largely struggled to get off the ground. Recent delays stemmed from a lack of state-certified laboratories. State law requires all products sold at dispensaries to first be tested in a state-approved lab.

The DOH granted last month Oahu-based private independent laboratory Steep Hill Hawaii provisional certification to test samples of marijuana.

Steep Hill Hawaii is currently unable to test derivatives, however, which are nonsmokable cannabis products such as capsules, oils and ointments.

As a result, the first two dispensaries to open reported selling out of their initial stock of dry buds — the only product Steep Hill is currently certified to test — within days.

Teri Freitas Gorman, spokeswoman for one of the dispensaries, Maui Grown Therapies, said roughly 40 percent of customers have expressed interest in nonsmokable products.

Gorman said about 100 people have visited Maui Grown Therapies each day since it opened.

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Source: MJFeed

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