Demand and Regulatory Bottleneck Temporarily Closes Hawaii Cannabis Dispensary


I suspect there are smirks emerging as some people are reading this article. “Welcome to the cannabis industry,” they might say.

Just five short days following its opening days of sales, Hawaii medical cannabis dispensary Maui Grown Therapies ran out of cannabis – and the company seems a little pissed off.

From The Maui News:

“‘It’s unfortunate that an administrative hindrance of this magnitude prevents patients from getting the help they need,’ said Christopher Cole, Director of Product Management for Maui Grown Therapies. ‘We had planned to open with a full range of derivative products such as concentrates, oils, capsules and topical products, but at the eleventh hour we discovered that the State Labs Division had failed to certify a lab to conduct testing of manufactured products.’

“…’We could serve thousands of patients with the amount of manufactured product we currently have available for final compliance testing,’ Cole said. ‘Even though we were approved by the Department of Health on May 24th to manufacture cannabis products, the restrictions placed on the state’s only licensed lab have prevented us from offering these products to our patients — and it is entirely unclear to us when this will change.’”

Though Maui Grown Therapies is expressing a genuine frustration, unfortunately this is not something unusual to the cannabis industry. Indeed this type of chaotic volatility in the market is much more the norm than would be accepted as reasonable in other industries. Constant changing rules and onerous regulation is often based more as a fearful reaction to a plant long believed to be imminently harmful, than on science or market pragmatism.

Just last month, Nevada opened to legal cannabis sales for adults of 21. Two weeks later the State of Nevada released a Statement of Emergency owing to a shortage of regulated cannabis to stock the shelves of newly opened sales operations.

In Oregon last year, sudden drastic changes in regulatory requirements created a backlog of work for testing facilities, causing huge losses for producers and sellers. Despite the setbacks, the Oregon legalization system has created thousands of new jobs and generated tens of millions in new revenue, far outpacing initial government projections.

Colorado, the early pioneer in regulated cannabis commerce, hasn’t been immune to regulatory issues either. The state has clearly overcome bureaucratic hurdles to now surpass the $500 million dollar marijuana revenue milestone.

As more states come online with cannabis legalization, officials should look hard at the examples of other states which are already moving into the industry space. Nothing is perfect, but when good is the enemy of perfect in this industry, patients, consumers and businesses all get left behind. Despite setbacks and obstacles, the future remains very bright for the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Stay on top of the latest developments for cannabis regulations, policies, and entrepreneurship! Attend the International Cannabis Business Conference in Kauai, Hawaii on December 1-3rd, 2017. Get your early bird tickets today!