Hawaii’s MMJ businesses get green light to start growing Feb. 1

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The Hawaii Department of Health’s seed-to-sale tracking software is ready to go online Feb. 1, which means licensed medical marijuana dispensaries finally can begin growing MMJ that day.

The state’s medical marijuana program has been delayed while the DOH attempted to link its tracking system with the software used by the eight companies approved to grow and sell medical marijuana, Honolulu Civil Beat reported. Hawaii’s legislature legalized dispensaries in 2015.

Heath regulators awarded eight licenses to dispensary operators last April and given them the green light to open their doors in July, Honolulu Civil Beat reported. Some had hoped to open by the end of last year.

Regulators have been criticized for the lag in cultivation.

An Oahu MMJ business said it might be five months before a cannabis crop is ready. A company planning a dispensary in Kahului said it has reduced employees’ hours and suspended hiring for key jobs given the delay in establishing the seed-to-sale tracking program, Honolulu Civil Beat reported.

Despite the setback, Keith Ridley, chief of the DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance, said Tuesday he expects dispensaries to open this year, according to Honolulu City Beat

Hawaii awarded the seed-to-sale software contract to BioTrackTHC in November, and growers have been waiting since then for the software to go online.