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DOH updates medical cannabis dispensary rules

The Maui News

The state Department of Health has updated its rules for the medical cannabis licensing program, including allowing gummies and other edible products and regulating the use of hemp.

When Hawaii’s medical cannabis dispensary law was first passed in 2015, the original interim rules were focused on implementing the law and getting the dispensary system up and running, the department explained in a news release Wednesday. The revised interim rules, which took effect on Feb. 24, focus on six specific areas:

• Updates to conform with changes to the state laws governing the medical cannabis dispensary system (Chapter 329D) since 2015. This includes allowing for a change of individual licensee in the event of death, retirement or incapacity; transfer of license is not allowed.

• Manufacturing requirements for edible cannabis products — which were authorized by the Legislature in 2020 — to make sure they meet the same safety requirements as nonconsumable products. This applies to existing product types like capsules and lozenges as well as to newly allowed products, such as gummies, cookies, brownies, honey and beverages, among others.

• Additional product safety measures for all cannabis products.

• Clarification on collection of samples for testing.

• Laboratory testing, which will focus microbial testing on microorganisms that pose a health risk for patients using the products.

• Hemp production and processing, which must be separate from medical cannabis and manufactured cannabis product production. However, state-compliant hemp ingredients may be used as an ingredient in a manufactured cannabis product.

As of Jan. 31, a statewide total of 33,951 in-state patients and 2,748 caregivers were registered statewide, according to the Health Department. The primary reported condition is severe pain for adult patients and seizures and severe pain for children under 18.

Maui has three of the 18 currently licensed centers in Hawaii, including Maui Grown Therapies at 44 Pa’a St. in Kahului and 1087 Limahana Pl., Unit 4B, in Lahaina; and Pono Life Sciences at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului.

For more information about the revised rules, including an executive summary of major changes and frequently asked questions, visit health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/11-850/.

For questions about the rules, email Medcannabis.Dispensary@doh.hawaii.gov.

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