National News

Honolulu lab first to conduct medical cannabis testing for Hawaii dispensaries

Posted August 1

— As lab technicians work inside Steep Hill Hawaii on King Street, they're preparing for a busy day ahead.

"What we want to do is to bring in really good tests, make sure the patients are safe, make sure the cannabis industry moves in the right direction of safe cannabis for their patients," said Kyle Leong, Quality Manager at Steep Hill Hawaii.

The independent lab in Honolulu will be the first in Hawaii to test medical cannabis products.

"At Steep Hill Hawaii we test for heavy metals, pesticides, cannabinoids, microbiologicals, micro toxins," said Leong.

Technicians are slated to begin testing products from two island dispensaries Tuesday.

"They are pioneers, this is the new era in healthcare," said Sen. Will Espero (D- Ewa Beach).

The State Department of Health granted Steep Hill Hawaii the state's first provisional certification for medical cannabis testing on Monday.

"It is another one of those major milestones, and we will have several more," said Keith Ridley, Chief for the Office of Health Care Assurance, at the Department of Health.

Two other labs are also going through the approval process. For Steep Hill, the entire process took nine months.

"The law currently does regulate cannabis, and so we want to make sure that it is done correctly," said Ridley.

For the state of Hawaii, getting to this point took nearly two decades. Medical cannabis became legal in Hawaii in 2000, but the dispensary bills did not pass until 2015. Sen. Espero worked on that the legislation.

"It is a great achievement now to be at this point," said Sen. Espero.

Leong said the testing process for cannabis products at Steep Hill Hawaii takes about four days. Once products pass testing, Leong said dispensaries can open for medical cannabis sales within four days from getting its final approval from the department of health. This means medical cannabis sales in Hawaii could begin in as early as eight days.

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