Business

Big Island Grown Prepared for More Growth

July 19, 2019, 7:17 AM HST
* Updated July 19, 12:00 PM
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Big Island Grown Dispensaries Grand Opening of Waimea. Courtesy photo.

Hawai‘i has long been a renowned producer of cannabis, or “pakalolo,” as locals refer to it, and is famous for the invention of Puna Butter and Maui Wowee.

In 1979, Rolling Stone referred to weed as the state’s number one crop, ahead of pineapple and sugar.

Soon, the Big Island will have four cannabis dispensaries (including Hawaiian Ethos in Kona) open once Big Island Grown opens its third location on Brewers Block in Kailua-Kona this summer.

The company also has locations in Malama Pono Center in Waimea and Lehua Center in Hilo that both opened early in 2019. The Kona location will be the 10th dispensary in the state of Hawai‘i since Act 241 legalized them in 2015.

Big Island Grown says it is proud to continue to have the lowest prices in the state. It is also currently introducing debit card payments and in the process of accepting credit cards.

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Part of the benefit of legalizing dispensaries like Big Island Grown is quality control. All of its products are grown on the Hāmākua Coast. The company propagates, cultivates, processes, manufactures and dispenses its own product consistent with high-quality, clean medicine.

PC: Big Island Grown

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Dylan Shropshire, the CEO of Big Island Grown, explained,” Hawai‘i’s medical cannabis program adheres to some of the highest testing standards in the country. Compliance testing including potency, cannabinoid content, terpenes, pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, mycotoxins and moisture content are completed for all final products for sale.”

Big Island Grown has brought an additional 50 jobs to Hawai‘i County and the shop in Kona will employ six to eight people. Being a growing new company, it is always accepting applications.

Big Island Grown offers a “mix and match” program in which customers can pick multiple strains at the most affordable rate in quarter, half ounce and ounce weight categories. It also has multiple flower strains, topicals and rosin flower extract.

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Also, unlike over-the-counter or gas station CBD products, under the State Medical Cannabis Program, Big Island Grown is able to sell full spectrum CBD products that contain at least .3% THC and are tested by the Hawai‘i Department of Health for pesticides and heavy metals before they are dispensed.

Shropshire shared, “We currently have various CBD flower strains, and manufactured products, including tinctures, full extract cannabis oil (FECO) and extracts with other CBD products in the pipeline.”

Currently, over 26,000 people have registered for a medical marijuana prescription statewide and an additional 1,900 people have registered as caregivers, according to the DOH statistics.

In order to enter a medical marijuana dispensary in Hawai‘i, you will need a valid government ID and valid 329 card.

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Hawai‘i law allows patients and caregivers to possess seven plants although only three may be mature and can produce up to one ounce. Unlike most states that have the patient registry under the DOH, in Hawai‘i it falls under the Narcotics Enforcement Division.

When asked whether the company keeps record of who comes in and how much they purchase, Big Island Grown responded, “We use a real-time, seed-to-sale software system conjointly with the DOH to maintain compliance with the State Medical Cannabis Program.”

As the law regarding this topic is still developing, some controversial issues have yet to be addressed. For example, Big Island Grown shared that currently there is nothing prohibiting the sale to pregnant women.

There is also still a contradiction between federal and state law as federally marijuana is still considered a schedule I drug. This makes doctors unable to prescribe marijuana to patients and pharmacies unable to fill prescriptions. To get around this, medical marijuana physicians supply their patients with “recommendations” in compliance with state law. However, Big Island Grown provides a list of prescribing physicians on its website. Physicians who would like to be added can contact (808) 518-3191.

Traveling interisland can also be problematic. According to the DOH, “Travel by any means, interisland, to and from the mainland USA and internationally, means passing through federal airspace or jurisdiction. This may put medical cannabis patients or caregivers traveling with cannabis and/or cannabisinfused products of any kind in jeopardy with the possibility of delay or arrest.”

When asked if they feared backlash from the federal government, Shropshire responded, “With the recent passing of the amendment at the US House of Representatives on June 20, 2019, the department of justice would be blocked from interfering with state-legal cannabis laws. With the current cannabis approval rating and passing of amendments like this, the concern has been greatly reduced, but ultimately you never know.”

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Shropshire told Big Island Now in July 2019, “We are actively involved in the legislative process. Big Island Grown supports patient rights including a patient’s right to grow.  We are in support of a patient-driven initiative for legal access to seeds and clones through a dispensary.”

Big Island Grown is also prepared for growth if recreational cannabis is legalized in Hawai‘i. Their 5,000-square-foot facility give the company room to expand.

Hawai‘i became the 26th state in the nation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but Gov. David Ige cautioned it does not mean the state is ready legalize recreational use of cannabis.

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