A brightly colored sunset off the coast of Hawaii.

Bernard Spragg, NZ

Hawaii’s patients are one step closer to finally gaining access to medical cannabis dispensaries more than two years after the passage of the state’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary program law as the Department of Health has licensed Steep Hill Hawaii to test medical cannabis products, Maui Now reports.

Keith Ridley, chief of the Health Department’s Office of Health Care Assurance and overseer of the medical cannabis dispensary program, called the license issuance “a major step forward” in allowing dispensaries to test their products so they can be sold to qualified patients.

“We realize that registered patients and caregivers and some of the licensed dispensaries have been waiting for a laboratory to become operational to test medical cannabis prior to consumption and sale,” he said in the report.

Steep Hill will be the first to test products, as required under the law, for cannabinoid profile, heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, moisture content, intestinal bacteria, microbial contaminants, pathogens, and dangerous molds.

Chris Whelen, head of the Department of Health’s State Laboratories Division, indicated the agency is currently working with two other independent labs to help them gain state certification to test cannabis before it heads to dispensaries for sale.

“Certification follows a rigorous scientific process that requires meticulous attention to detail and constant refining to ensure product and patient safety,” he said, noting that the interested labs “are continuing to submit or resubmit their validation studies for certification.”

Under Hawaii state law, labs are prohibited from handling cannabis products until they are certified by the state.

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