WCA February meeting to focus on local medical cannabis producer

WAIMEA — This Thursday night, Waimea Community Association’s key guest speaker will be Hawaiian Ethos’ COO Zachary Taffany. He will provide an overview of plans to cultivate and dispense medical cannabis to Hawaii Island patients. The state-licensed medical marijuana producer will source its flower from a cultivation facility in Waimea.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Hawaii since 2000, but access to medical cannabis was challenging. Initially the Hawaii law enabled patients and caregivers to legally grow their own plants within certain parameters. Then in 2015, the State Legislature passed, and the governor signed into law, Act 241 which became codified as Chapter 329D of the Hawaii Revised Statues to establish a dispensary licensure program to make medicinal marijuana products readily available for registered patients, while balancing the health and safety of patients and the public.

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Currently, eight licensees in the state of Hawaii have received permission to operate dispensaries for licensed medical cannabis patients. Hawaiian Ethos is one of two authorized on Hawaii Island. They plan to open their first dispensary in Kona this spring, and a second dispensary in Hilo later this year. Both locations will offer a full range of products allowed by Hawaii State regulations including flower, tinctures, tablets and capsules in a variety of dosages.

The Hawaii State Department of Health’s Office of Health Care Assurance has regulatory responsibility for Hawaii’s dispensary licensure program to ensure patient safety, public safety and product safety, and to ensure licensee compliance with state law. This includes statewide oversight of the laboratories that test the safety and quality of the cannabis and manufactured cannabis products, and on-site inspections and monitoring of licensed dispensaries that grow, manufacture and sell medical cannabis products to qualifying patients.

The new Waimea cultivation facility has drawn widespread community interest, hence the town meeting presentation.

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As with all WCA town meetings, the program will begin with updates from Hawaii county council members on council business, and Community Policing Officer Kelena Ho’okano will report on recent incidents and community safety concerns.

Info: Go to www.WaimeaTown.org or www.Facebook.com/WaimeaCommunityAssociation, or call Patti Cook at 937-2833