Pubdate: Thu, 10 Aug 2017
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2017 Star Advertiser
Author: Kristen Consillio


Dozens of patients anxiously stood in line - one as early as the night
before - to be the first on Oahu to buy products such as Chocolope and
Lemon Drop, medical marijuana strains that went on sale Wednesday.

"It's like a candy store," said Kimbreley Timulty, 45, who was among
the first to purchase pot at Aloha Green LLC. "It was overwhelming
because you walk in there and that's the only thing that you smell."

Timulty, who uses marijuana for insomnia and post-traumatic stress
disorder, and her 47-year-old husband, Joseph, from Makiki, said they
have been waiting 17 years for medicinal pot to be readily available
in Hawaii.

Oahu's first medical marijuana dispensary began selling legal pot -
including strains named Holy Grail Kush, 24-karat Gold and No. 18 OG -
for the first time on Hawaii's most populous island. There were about
40 customers in line to buy pakalolo when Aloha Green opened at 11
a.m. at the Interstate Building at 1314 South King St. Prices started
at $16 a gram.

Maui Grown Therapies in Kahului was the state's first dispensary to
begin cannabis sales on Tuesday.

Kaimuki resident John Ruiz IV was the first person on Oahu to legally
buy the drug. He said he uses it for pain relief and insomnia.

"I feel spoiled. I was just lucky enough to be here at the right place
at the right time (to be the) first person on Oahu," said Ruiz, 27.
"It's a great thing for the state. It's a great way for the state to
make money as well as serve the people. They need this for many
reasons. I used to buy it on the black market. Today is very
significant. I no longer need to break any laws, and I can finally go
about worry free."

Aaron Kagan, a 29-year-old Pearl City resident, has used the drug
since he was 18 to alleviate chronic back pain.

"I was taking Percocet and Vicodin (narcotic prescription drugs) as a
teenager. I didn't like the side effects from it," he said. "As soon
as I started medical cannabis, I stopped all narcotic painkillers.
It's an unbelievable help. I'm so happy now that it's finally come to
pass where we are here and we're about to walk into the first
dispensary on Oahu. It's a historic day, and it brings tears to my

Rep. Della Au Belatti (D, Makiki-Tantalus, Papakolea), said that there
are still a lot of issues state officials need to deal with as more
dispensaries open for business, including banking, visitors with
prescriptions from other states and ensuring public safety.

"Whether (people are) under the influence of cannabis or alcohol, we
are going to be worried about that," she said Wednesday at the
dispensary. "We're going to watch that carefully, and we're going to
hopefully put resources towards law enforcement so that they have the
trained officials that they need to address drug recognition."

Medical marijuana was legalized in Hawaii in 2000, but patients had no
legal way to obtain the drug. As of July 31, there were 18,004
registered patients, including about 7,000 on Oahu.

Chinatown resident Jared James, 34, said he hopes the community will
embrace marijuana now that dispensaries are open in Hawaii.

"It's so much better than all those other drugs. Opiates work pretty
well (for pain relief) but there are a lot of complications with them.
There's huge risks too. One of the side effects is dying," said James,
who uses marijuana for back pain. "Once this dispensary opens, I think
it's going to change the entire culture here. People are going to see
it different. They're still kind of a little bit scared about it. They
think it's illegal and they're going to go to jail. When you open a
dispensary it makes the whole dynamic different. It's like legit."
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