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Maui pakalolo outfit opens education center

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    One of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees announced Sunday that it has opened an educational center as it waits for the “green light” from the state to begindispensary operations.

One of Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary licensees announced Sunday that it has opened an educational center as it waits for the “green light” from the state to begin dispensary operations.

Interested patients and doctors on Maui can set up an appointment with Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC to get more information about the cannabis company and its products. The center opened Friday.

“What we want to do now is give the public the opportunity to ask their questions and get them answered,” said Wade Matsumoto, director of operations for Pono Life Sciences. “We’ll be offering by appointment only the opportunity for the community to sit down with the Maui team. Once we get the green light, we hope to be open soon after that.”

Matsumoto said a separate, secured area at its Kahului facility will be used as the dispensary.

Last month the state Health Department contracted BioTech Medical Software Inc., doing business as BioTrackTHC, to install an online seed-to-sale tracking system required to monitor production and sales before dispensaries can open for business.

At that event Pono Life Sciences Maui demonstrated the BioTrackTHC system. The company said the system is fully operational and integrates secure data exchange between production and a Honolulu data center.

Also at the event, the company discussed the layout of the dispensary and its outlook for 2017 to politicians, community leaders and supporters.

“We are continuously honored with this opportunity to provide scientifically-oriented medical cannabis products to the Maui community, helping individuals with debilitating diseases improve their quality of life,” said Michael Takano, Pono Life Maui’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

“We will be introducing numerous strains of our cannabis to help patients of all ages dealing with unfortunate, and, at times seemingly unbearable discomfort. If we can just make life a little more comfortable for them, we are making an impact.”

The state Department of Health has said that after the online tracking system is installed, it is expecting Hawaii’s eight medical marijuana dispensary contractors to begin cultivation in February and start sales a few months later.

The DOH is spending $239,000 for the first year and $160,000 for each year thereafter over the five-year agreement for the seed-to-sale tracking system, which must interface with the department’s existing marijuana patient registry system.

Another group on Maui said it is ready to open, pending state approval.

Maui Wellness Group, doing business as Maui Grown Therapies, said Wednesday its first dispensary location is at the Maui Lani Village Center in Kahului.

The company, led by former Maui Land &Pineapple Co. Inc. Chief Executive David Cole, expects to sell cannabis and related products about 112 days after it receives state approval. The contractor is planning a series of open houses and educational events in the 2,112-square-foot dispensary starting in February.

Hawaii legalized medical marijuana 16 years ago, but patients did not have a legal way to obtain the drug. Act 241, passed in 2015, allowed the state to issue eight licenses for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. The law allowed dispensaries to open July 15, but the state and licensees weren’t ready.

Hawaii law allows patients to purchase 4 ounces in a 15-day period.

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