State's medical cannabis program questioned about delays
Nearly one year after the state chose its eight medical marijuana dispensaries, not one patient has actually been able to buy any cannabis.
The Americans For Safe Access calls Hawaii's medical marijuana program under-funded and repeatedly behind schedule.
Earning the Department of Health a grade of B for the program.
However, the Department of Health says - it's actually making progress.
"We're making progress as we had expected to and we do expect that progress to continue so that the dispensaries will be able to access registry information to verify patients by the early part of May." said Keith Ridley, Chief Office of Health Insurance with the Department of Health.
One delay has been due to a lack of licenses issued to labs that test marijuana before it can be sold.
"We know at least one lab has performed some lab validation testing, using marijuana product." said Ridley.
Lawmakers shared concerns that the dispensaries will have product they won't be able to sell or do anything with, which they say is unacceptable.
The Department of Health says progress is being made in securing labs.
"One we think is very far along. So we're very optimistic. I hesitate to give a firm date but we are very optimistic that it would be before summer." said Ridley.
Others at the meeting say things are moving too slowly for the labs to be open by then.
"I think based on the progress that's been made so far, it seems highly unlikely. I'm not saying that it's impossible but things would definitely have to change in the form of attention to certain details that are specific to the laboratories." said Michael Rollins, Administrative Officer at Pharm Labs.
No word on what day dispensary doors will open, but it's been narrowed down to sometime this year.