HONOLULU — Medical marijuana dispensaries are beginning to open in Hawaii, but they’re not allowed to sell their products.
Instead, the leafy medicinal greens they’ve harvested are sitting on a shelf unsold because nearly a year after dispensaries were legally allowed to open, the state has not yet certified any labs to run required safety tests.
That means dispensaries such as Aloha Green on Oahu have no income despite payroll, rent and operations expenses that top $100,000 a month.
“For us it’s a little frustrating, having so many people on board, but it has to be done,” said James H.Q. Lee, CEO of Aloha Green. “I’m more concerned for the patients, because people have been calling: ‘We see it online, when are you going to open? We need our medical cannabis.'”
Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana 17 years ago, but dispensaries were only legalized in 2015. The state’s 17,000 registered patients have been left to grow marijuana plants on their own or buy it on the black market.
The delays have been frustrating to potential customers, executives and employees in the nascent industry.
Since they’re paying for the space, Aloha Green decided to open their…