- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Marijuana dispensaries still have yet to make a single sale more than a year after Hawaii awarded its first eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses.

The dispensaries cannot sell the drug until the state Health Department certifies laboratories to test the quality of the marijuana, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/2rsUXgG) on Monday.

Helen Cho, director of integrated strategy for Aloha Green Holdings Inc., says her Oahu dispensary has marijuana stored and ready to sell. Maui Grown Therapies and Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC also have marijuana ready to sell. A fourth company, Manoa Botanicals LLC, is growing pot but hasn’t harvested it yet.

“We’re ready to go,” Cho said.

But health department officials say they want to make sure the dispensaries are safe and secure before they let sales begin. They expect the first dispensary to open this summer.

While the industry is put on hold, patients and dispensaries are becoming frustrated, according to the report.

Cho said that when she started her business, she did not expect the process to take this long.

“Every day we’re still operating a business, and on top of the overhead, cost of salaries, rent and utilities, every licensee is under some sort of construction,” said Cho, who has about 30 employees. “Not only are we continuing to spend money, but there’s no cash flow.”

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