By Kristen Consillio
Noa Botanicals is preparing to open its second medical cannabis dispensary on Oahu this week. The company is expanding into a 1,700-square-foot retail center across from Windward Mall behind Zippy’s in Kaneohe at the Windward Centre, 46-028 Kawa St. “We’re really pleased with the reception that we have from our patients,” said Brian Goldstein, CEO of Noa, which still must pass a final Health Department inspection scheduled for Thursday before it can begin sales. “We’ve had lots of patients asking for a location on the Windward side. It’s really hard to find a compliant location, so we’re super excited to open in Kaneohe.”
The company’s first location, at 1308 Young St., has seen more than 6,000 patients since opening in October 2017 with about 50 new patients a week, he said, adding that the company is looking to grow revenue by about 60 percent in its second year of business. Goldstein says the company offers a “broader product selection” than the competition with about 15 strains of flowers, eight types of vape oil and half a dozen types of tinctures, including non-psychoactive products. It also sells infused olive oil that patients can use for salads or baking, as well as lozenges, which have been a big hit among customers, he said. “Our average patient is over 50. Frequently, Noa is the first dispensary they’ve ever been to,” Goldstein said. An open house for the public is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m Wednesday at the Kaneohe location, though no products will be available for sale.
“This is a very expensive business. We’re really hoping that the market continues to grow and more people want to experience the benefits of medical cannabis,” said Goldstein, who invested half a million dollars into the Kaneohe space. “The fact of the matter is there’s still not enough patients. We’re really looking for the market to grow. We’re excited about the reciprocity program scheduled to start next month.”
The medical cannabis market has more than doubled in recent years, with 24,070 patients registered with the state as of Jan. 31, compared with 11,727 patients on Aug. 31, 2015.
What’s more, the push to legalize pakalolo has strong momentum this year, with more than two dozen state lawmakers introducing legislation to allow its recreational use by Hawaii adults.
One such bill being considered would legalize the possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis for those over age 21 and subject the drug to a 15 percent surcharge on top of the general excise tax with sales starting in February 2021. However, legislators rejected a proposal that would have allowed cannabis retailers to sell edibles to patients.
The Kaneohe dispensary will be open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will carry a complete product line, including flowers, vape cartridges, oils, topicals, lozenges, tinctures, capsules and concentrates to treat a number of conditions such as pain, cancer, autoimmune conditions, muscle spasms, nausea, post-traumatic stress disorder, seizures and tremors, and sleep deprivation.
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