- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - The groups that plan to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii have all identified sites to grow their products, but none of the eight licensees has begun cultivating the plants because they haven’t been given a green light from the state Department of Health.

One holdup is the state doesn’t have a software system to track the product from seed to sale. Tracking software is a requirement of the federal government. The state is finalizing a contract for the software, said Keith Ridley of the Department of Health.

“It’s very important that we get this software tracking system up and running as quickly as possible,” Ridley said.

Also, no laboratories have applied with the state to test the product, although some have verbally expressed interest, Ridley said. Medical marijuana cannot be sold from dispensaries before it’s tested.

A panel overseeing the rollout of Hawaii’s medical marijuana dispensaries got an update on development of the system Wednesday.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii since 2000. Dispensaries in Hawaii were legally allowed to open in July, but none were ready.

Most of the licensees have received zoning approval for their retail locations, and one is ready to begin cultivating plants, according to the Department of Health.

Some dispensary owners have said they’d be ready to open around the New Year, but it’s unclear whether openings will be delayed by issues such as a the lack of laboratories.

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