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  • Eli Hunt

The Medical Marijuana Cultivation Process: How is VA Dispensary Cannabis Produced?

Medical marijuana has been legal in Virginia for a good while now, bringing a lot of healing and positivity to those with medical marijuana cards in the Commonwealth. Fans of medical marijuana may be wondering: Where does all this medical marijuana come from and how do the facilities approved by the state generate so much quality cannabis?

The process is pretty interesting and provides some unique insights into medical marijuana in Virginia. Let's dive into a day in the life of a medical marijuana production facility, shall we?

Cannabis Production Facilities in Virginia

There are five separate production facilities in Virginia, each in its own designated region of the Commonwealth. These facilities have been given special approval from the state government to grow cannabis and produce high-quality medical marijuana products exclusively in their respective 'Health Service Areas.'

From the street, these facilities look like any other warehouse you might see throughout Virginia. Inside, they are technologically advanced growing facilities that maintain as many as 22,000 plants at any given time, ensuring a healthy supply for the growing cannabis market.

From Mother to Clone: The First Stages of the Cannabis Growth Cycle

It all starts with the so-called "Mother" plants in a facility. These Mother plants are coveted primarily for their unique cannabinoid profiles (i.e. how much THC and CBD they might have.) The most desirable parts of the Mother plants are clipped, creating what are known as clones.

How to choose a Mother plant? Growers look for certain qualities in a mother, including sturdiness, resistance to pests, and bold aromas and flavors. Mothers who generate big yields and dense trichomes are also coveted for this important role in cannabis facilities.

Clipping the Clones

Mother plants are kept in a vegetative state and not allowed to transition to a flowering stage where they would produce buds. A flowering Mother has the potential to create hermaphroditic clones; the Mother plant itself, too, can be damaged if pruned when flowering. Mothers are kept in a vegetative state through constant clipping and pruning to ensure that they continue to produce the small sprigs that will be harvested as clones.

Once clipped from the Mother, the clones' stems are dipped in plant hormones and then transplanted to rooting mediums. Some of the most common rooting mediums used in the context of cannabis mass production are rooting cubes made from rockwool or foam to ensure airflow and moisture retention.

The Marijuana Plant Growing Stage

The rooted clones are then placed in carefully monitored environments for their lengthy growing stage. LED light encompasses the plants, while fans ensure that the room maintains optimal environmental conditions. Everything, in fact, around the growing plants is automated. There is even an automated watering schedule, and automated controls for temperature, humidity, lighting schedule, and irrigation. All of this is critical to producing quality cannabis.

No one is allowed to enter the growing facility without a hair covering and booties on their feet. This is to ensure that absolutely no bugs enter the production facility, thereby endangering any of the plants.

Harvesting the Trichomes

It takes three months for the first buds to appear on the growing clone plants. These are the most important and powerful elements of the plants, as they contain the 'crystals' or trichomes that, in turn, contain the oil sacks with over 200 cannabinoids and terpenes. These clones and their trichomes contain the same cannabinoid profile as the mother, bringing just the right levels of THC or CBD, for example, and giving the eventual medical marijuana products that will be made from them their special therapeutic quality.

Packaging the Product

At this point, it's time for the buds to be picked and processed. Since September 1 of this year, individual buds could be packaged and sold as flower products in Virginia. All buds are separated by category, depending on their variety and unique cannabinoid profile. Trichomes that are not sold as flower are then dried and sent to the facility's lab for further processing, where the team extracts oils and presses out resins. Extracts are infused into a wide range of products sold at Virginia dispensaries, including gummies and edibles.

The Future of Virginia Facilities

For the time being, facilities in Virginia are dedicated solely to the production of cannabis for use in the medical marijuana marketplace. That may change in the not too distant future. As the Joint Commission on Cannabis Oversight hammers out the details of recreational sales, these dispensaries may step in to take over a significant portion of the recreational market. The thinking behind this is that the facilities are already regulated, with safety protocols in place, and would offer one of the fastest routes to market for the burgeoning industry.

It all remains to be seen, however, as legislators and commission members decide on the final structure of recreational marijuana in Virginia. Many want to ensure that recreational vendors in disenfranchised minority communities are prioritized when it comes to commercial licensing. This would create equity in the marketplace and help communities that were inordinately marginalized during the War on Drugs.

Whatever the structure of recreational sales ends up being, medical marijuana users can be happy that these facilities are running well and efficiently, delivering quality medical cannabis to the Commonwealth today and into the future.

Get Your VA Marijuana Card Now!

Virginia medical marijuana production facilities are chugging away, working hard to produce the best medical marijuana products possible. If you don't already have your medical marijuana card, there is no time like the present to jump in and start accessing the high-quality products made by these facilities.

Schedule an appointment with an online medical marijuana doctor today, to start gaining access to safe, legal cannabis products, including tinctures, flower, concentrates and more.


Doctors Who Care.

Relief You Can Trust.

At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness

safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. Our focus on

education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by

providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.

Call us at (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!

Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.

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Check out Virginia Marijuana Card’s Blog to keep up to date on the latest medical marijuana news, tips, and information.

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