KAILUA-KONA — Medical marijuana patients in West Hawaii will soon have another outlet to legally secure their medicine with next month’s opening of Big Island Grown’s third location, in Kailua-Kona.
Lau Ola LLC, which does business as Big Island Grown (B.I.G.), received on Friday from the state Department of Health its formal notice to proceed allowing the company to open its third dispensary retail center at Brewery Block in Kailua-Kona, next to Kona Brewing Co.
Big Island Grown COO Dylan Shropshire and CEO Jaclyn Moore said in a statement to West Hawaii Today that the company is proud to open the maximum number of retail centers it is permitted to by state law to accommodate patient needs on the leeward side of Hawaii Island, a land mass of approximately 4,028 square miles. B.I.G. opened its first dispensary retail center in Hilo in January, followed by a satellite location in Waimea in March.
“This created a geographical challenge for Hawaii Island patients to access cannabis medicine,” Shropshire said. “Big Island Grown has been committed to improving access to cannabis medicine by opening the maximum allowable retail locations for the benefit of all patients on Big Island.”
Like at its Hilo and Waimea retail centers, West Hawaii patients visiting the B.I.G.’s Kona location can expect the “same quality of experience and deals,” the company’s executive leadership said.
Among the initial “menu offerings,” as the company calls them, will be a “robust selection of newly harvested high-grade flowers,” different types or flavors of concentrates, soft and hard lozenges, pharmacist-compounded topical pain cream, various tinctures, and several flavors of solvent-free and solvent-less cartridges.
The company did not provide a range of cost for its products, but noted they would be the same as Hilo and Waimea.
But, it did tout its Mix&Match program, which allows patients can select up to eight strains for the lowest price of an ounce in the state.
A grand opening celebration will be held Thursday, Aug. 8, for “808 Day” with festivities to include live music and glassblowing, haku lei making, and various vendors, including Hilo Grow Shop, Rosinshine and Black Sand Glass. The Vibe Cafe will serve up customers’ favorite vegan and vegetarian creations during a one-day special Kona pop-up event.
Following the opening, the dispensary’s Kailua-Kona location will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Per state law, only adults and caretakers holding valid a medical cannabis registration (329) card from the Department of Health, are permitted to enter the dispensary.
The company on Friday also announced management restructuring with the transition of Shropshire from founder and member of the Lau Ola Board of Directors to chief operating officer (COO), and Moore to the position of chief executive officer (CEO). Moore is a pharmacist by education, and part of the team that submitted the application in 2016 for the dispensary license.
“We take our responsibility very seriously: to execute the vision the state has for its medical program and its patients. We have invested in a complete build out to the highest standards, and as this medical program evolves we intend on staying at the forefront of quality, affordability and patient advocacy,” said Moore.
The opening of Kailua-Kona’s second medical marijuana retail dispensary comes four years after the state legalized such entities in 2015. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, but patients had no legal way to obtain the drug until 2017 when the first dispensary opened on Maui. Eleven hold licenses to operate dispensaries in the state, including Hawaiian Ethos and Big Island Grown Dispensaries, on Hawaii Island.
According to the state Department of Health, there are more than 26,000 patients and over 2,000 caregivers registered statewide. Nearly 30% (7,611) of these patients and 22% (445) of the caregivers reside on Hawaii Island. The primary qualifying condition reported for adults prescribed medical cannabis, the department said, is severe pain while the primary qualifying condition reported for children 18 and under is seizures.
Hawaii dispensaries sold 1,569 pounds of medical marijuana totaling $12.6 million in 2018, DOH statistics released in March showed. That figure doesn’t include any Hawaii Island sales because no dispensary was open on the island in 2018.
Big Island Grown was unable to provide details on its first six months of sales as of press time Saturday.
Hawaiian Ethos opened its first Big Island dispensary June 30 at Aloha Plaza in the Kaloko Light Industrial Area. The company plans to open a second location in Hilo followed by a third in a not-yet-determined locale on the island.
Info: Visit www.bigislandgrown.co.