It has been 17 years since the state of Hawaii has approved medical marijuana to be legal in the state. This week Hawaii also approved its first laboratory since medical marijuana became legal, to test samples.

The state Department of Health has certified this week Honolulu-based lab Steep Hill Hawaii. A move like this brings the state closer to allowing for dispensaries to sell these products to patients.

It was in 2000 that Hawaii legalized medical marijuana but there was no legalized dispensaries until 2015. Many patients had to grow the drug on their own or obtain it in a different way.

“This is a big milestone, and it couldn’t have come any sooner, because many people within the industry were getting frustrated and a little angry at the time it has taken to get to this point,” said Democrat state Sen. Will Espero. “But now that we are here, hopefully the next phase in terms of sales will happen quickly and everything will go smoothly.”

According to Dana Ciccone, the owner of Steep Hill Hawaii, once the lab receives samples, it will take four days to test and then return products to dispensaries for sale.

Ciccone said in an email. “Today is a big step in the right direction for Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis industry.”

Dispensaries are eagerly waiting to begin testing their products.

Teri Freitas Gorman, director of community relations and patient affairs at one dispensary said, “We’ve been waiting for this day for quite some time, and now that it’s here it’s very exciting news for us. Being on a neighbor island, there’s a little bit of a logistical hurdle that we have to overcome, but we’ll overcome it.”

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