Hawaii, one of the strictest medical cannabis states in the United States, has a low number of cultivation sites and dispensaries. The state legalized medical cannabis in 2000, but it took 17 years for the first dispensaries to open. It took another piece of legislation in 2015, Act 241, to create a medial cannabis dispensary program where the dispensaries operate legally within a newly defined set of rules. Maui Grown Therapies is one out of the eight total entities that are licensed for a medical cannabis dispensary in Hawaii. The first medial cannabis dispensary company to open in Hawaii, Big Island Grown Dispensaries, opened its first location’s doors in January of this year and opened a second location in March. Maui Grown Therapies has one out of only two medial cannabis dispensaries on the Hawaii mainland.
Due to the extensive security requirements put in place by the Hawaii state government, not many media outlets or individuals have been permitted to view any facilities unless they adhere to several strict requirements. Visitors to any medial cannabis production facilities have to pass a criminal background check, along with fingerprinting, and then receive subsequent state approval. Despite all the hoops required for visitors, Maui Grown Therapies’ held its first tour and state approval process isn’t the end of the strict requirements with a full facility tour. A company employee directed the tour and all tour participants are required to don and keep on a hairnet, lab coat and a visitor identification badge until the end of the tour.
Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs at Maui Grown Therapies, stated: “Hawaii has some of the highest standards in the nation. Compliance is paramount.”
The tour consisted of and covered three main parts of the cultivation and production facility: Clone Rooms, Flower Rooms and The Dry Room. Lastly, the tour covers the storage room for all the finished dried flower product after it is fully dried in the drying room, The Vault, and then Maui Grown Therapies’ dispensary. At the end of this first tour, tour participants saw a higher percentage of senior citizens at the dispensary.
Christopher Cole, director of product development at Maui Grown Therapies, stated: “The best part about it by far is the stories of patients getting relief and being happy with the products. I can’t tell you how many inspiring and heartwarming stories we hear from patients who pharmaceutical medications have failed them or a certain symptom they’re trying to manage just can’t be addressed with conventional pharmaceutical medication. They try cannabis and it just gives them great relief.”
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