17 December 2016

Maui News is reporting that there might actually be movement… but let’s not hold our breath….

 

One Maui medical marijuana dispensary is just months away from growing phase

The group will be doing business as Maui Grown Therapies and will be located in a 2,112-square-foot space at 44 Paa St., among medical, professional and retail businesses in the commercial development, the news release said. A series of open houses and educational events are planned in the building beginning in February.

The company expects to sell cannabis and cannabis-derivative products, but exactly when that will begin remains unclear as the Health Department sets up the infrastructure for the new dispensary program. Last month, the Health Department contracted with BioTech Medical Software Inc. for a web-based system that will provide the department 24/7 access to real-time data of medical marijuana inventory, sales and other information required of dispensary licensees statewide.

The Health Department also needs to contract with a lab to test the potency of the marijuana for sales but that can be done after cultivation begins, said Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs for Maui Wellness Group, on Wednesday.

On Oahu for a meeting with the Health Department working group on the dispensary program, Freitas Gorman said that the department will not commit to a date to provide “notice to proceed with cultivation.” Software installation and training currently are ongoing, and the Health Department has proposed a phased-in approach that “hopefully” could allow the beginning of cultivation in “a couple of months,” she said.

Maui Wellness Group said Wednesday that it will begin selling cannabis and the cannabis-derivative products 16 weeks after it receives its “notice to proceed with cultivation” from the Health Department.

Dispensary licensees are frustrated with the slow pace of the Health Department, Freitas Gorman said. It is costing the companies money and delaying their ability to provide the medical marijuana to clients. She said her company receives calls from patients, some diagnosed with cancer, seeking access to the cannabis therapy.

Freitas Gorman said there is one other company on Oahu, among the eight licensees statewide, that is at the same point that Maui Wellness is — ready to begin cultivation when the Health Department provides the notice to proceed.

The company plans to begin selling cannabis flowers first, and eventually salves, lotions, oils, tinctures, lozenges and nebulizers, group officials said in September.

The company, which has the option to open two dispensaries, currently is searching for another dispensary site, Freitas Gorman said.

“We are very excited to have achieved this important milestone,” said Maui Grown Therapies co-founder Dr. Gregory Park. “While we had hoped to provide Maui patients with access to medical grade cannabis products by now, we will instead devote this time to educating medical professionals, patients and the wider community about the potential benefits of cannabis.”

The company is leasing about 7 acres of privately owned agricultural land in Kula for cultivation, company officials have said.

The company had 11 workers on payroll but had to lay off one worker and reduce hours for others due to the delays, Freitas Gorman said. Maui Wellness was planning to expand to 25 to 30 workers when cultivation begins.

Maui Wellness Group is a physician-led company that includes Dr. Andrew Weil, chief science officer; Dr. Gregory Yim, chief medical officer; and Park, chief compliance officer. David Cole, former president and chief executive officer of Maui Land & Pineapple Co., also has been a part of the group.