Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC unveiled the Kahului dispensary to a group of politicians, community leaders and others Friday. The business is not yet selling medicinal marijuana because it hasn’t gotten permission from the state Department of Health to begin production, the Maui News reported.
CEO Michael Takano said the dispensary will feature a public education and retail area that will serve as a waiting area for those who accompany medical marijuana card holders to the facility. A restricted section with a lobby and dispensary will be accessible only to patients.
“If you are the card holder and you are a cancer patient or have a chronic condition, then most likely you’ll be traveling with your caregiver or a family member,” Takano said. “Where do they go? The state law didn’t account for that, so we made the additional investment to have ancillary space for outside operators where we can truly drive a community solution.”
Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Racquel Bueno said patients will be advised on picking out the products best suitable to their needs.
“For patients that we’ve spoken with, the biggest issue is that they don’t know how to navigate their way from the very beginning,” Bueno said. “Does marijuana help them? How do you find somebody who will help them get a card? How do you get a card? All of those things are very difficult to navigate.”
Under the statewide license, the company doing business as Pono Life Maui can operate two production centers and two dispensaries. Takano said the company is eyeing locations for a second dispensary and plans for a second production center are in the works.
“We all need to get to first harvest and first sale and growth. Once we’re there, we’ll know a lot of the risk factors that are involved,” he said.
The company plans to employ about 30 workers once it has received the state’s approval to start production, but Takano wasn’t sure exactly when that would be.
“We’ve been ready for the most part right out of the gate,” he said. “We contracted this (building) last spring, and we’ve been under lease since July 12, so it’s been very expensive for us. We’ve spent a great deal of capital on infrastructure and planning.”
Pono Life Sciences is one of two Maui groups that have received medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Maui Grown Therapies announced its first dispensary location last week and will hold a series of open houses in the building starting in February.
Information from: The Maui News