Kailua-Kona’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens Sunday

  • LAURA RUMINSKI/West Hawaii Today Hawaiian Ethos community relations coordinator Kea Keolanui welcomes attendees to an open house for the dispensary in December.

KAILUA-KONA — Kailua-Kona’s first medical marijuana dispensary opens this weekend.

Hawaiian Ethos, one of only two businesses licensed to sell medical marijuana products on the Big Island, plans a grand opening celebration Sunday at its Olowalu Street dispensary in the Kaloko Light Industrial Area. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m., the Aloha Plaza parking lot will feature music, food trucks, activities and informational booths open to all — not just medical marijuana card holders.

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“It should be a really good time,” said Kea Keolanui, community relations coordinator at Hawaiian Ethos, adding that the company thanks the “community for their patience and support. This has been a long-awaited milestone for so many on the island and we are excited to begin operation.”

The event will allow interested people to learn from a variety of sources about the state’s medical cannabis program and what Hawaiian Ethos will offer at the dispensary. While the parking lot festivities are for all, only adults and caretakers with valid medical cannabis registration cards are permitted to enter the dispensary.

Hawaiian Ethos, which touts its science-based approach and sustainable growing practices, will offer at its dispensary a variety of Big Island-, sun-grown cannabis products, including tinctures, salves, rosin concentrates, cartridge concentrates for vaporizing and actual marijuana flower, which can be smoked or vaporized, with varying levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

Hawaiian Ethos CEO Luis Mejia declined to provide ranges of cost for products, but said, “We believe our pricing is going to be such that it will be affordable.”

Hawaiian Ethos on Sunday also launches its “Talk Medicine” app. The app allows the company to anonymously track medication sessions by asking users to confidentially input the type of product they used, how much and for what reason. After consumption, patients are asked to provide information at specific intervals on the effectiveness of various medicines.

That information, through time, will allow for the user to not only see what is working best for them but also see anonymously what’s working for others with similar conditions.

“We can help people try to figure out better medications that might work better for them based upon their data submitting,” Mejia said. “It also helps us understand what works so we can develop new products and launch those. The whole idea is using science to continually improve our understandings and get better medicines that are going to work for people.”

Hawaiian Ethos’ Kona dispensary hours will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday. It will be closed on Monday. Appointments for private consultations are available, but are not required.

For more information about the dispensary, appointments, events, business hours and location, visit www.hawaiianethos.com or call 329-3205.

“We’re just really excited to bring the science-based approach and patient-centric medicine to the island and we’re looking forward to working with patients,” Keolanui said.

The opening of Hawaiian Ethos’ dispensary comes four years after the state legalized medical marijuana dispensaries in 2015. Medical marijuana was legalized in 2000, but patients had no legal way to obtain the drug until 2017, when the first dispensary opened on Maui. Eight have licenses to operate dispensaries in the state, including Hawaiian Ethos and Big Island Grown Dispensaries, on Hawaii Island.

Big Island Grown opened Hawaii Island’s first dispensary in January in Hilo, and a satellite location in March in Waimea.

Big Island Grown CEO Jaclyn Moore said Monday that the company was still working with the county’s building department to obtain the required permits for its dispensary location at Brewers Block in Kailua-Kona. An opening date has yet to be determined, however, Moore said the company is “hoping for an opening this summer.”

Hawaiian Ethos plans to open a Hilo location in the future, but Mejia was not ready to provide a time frame. After opening a dispensary in Hilo, Hawaiian Ethos is permitted by the state to open one more dispensary on the island.

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“The exact location has not been decided, but it would be based on patient needs,” Keolanui said.

Email Chelsea Jensen at cjensen@westhawaiitoday.com.

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