When Will Marijuana Dispensaries Open in Virginia?
A Look at the Status of Marijuana Dispensaries and When VA Residents Can Expect to Make Their First Purchases
Now that recreational marijuana is about to be legal in Virginia, residents want to know when more dispensaries are going to open in the Commonwealth. As of right now, there are only four dispensaries in their respective zones covering most of the state, but they only sell medical marijuana.
Though the process is super simple, you still need a marijuana recommendation from a qualified VA health professional in order to get a Virginia marijuana card.
A marijuana card offers plenty of advantages besides access to high-quality marijuana that is legal to purchase.
However, patients an hour or more from the nearest dispensary are wondering when medical marijuana will be more accessible to them. And adults 21 and over want to know where they will be able to purchase recreational marijuana once it is legal to possess on July 1, 2021.
Let’s take a look at the current state of marijuana access in Virginia, and then we will dive into what’s next for the first state in the South to legalize adult-use marijuana.
Adult-Use Marijuana Will Soon be Legal to Possess - Purchasing is a Different Story
The original adult-use bills that passed the VA House and Senate set the date for legal possession out in 2024. Governor Northam recognized the need for something to be done sooner, rather than later, about disproportionate prohibition enforcement and penalties for people of color, and pushed for amendments that would address the issue of social equity.
“People of color and those of not, they use marijuana at the same rate. People of color are three times more likely to get arrested and convicted,” he notes in a December 2020 interview on VPM’s NPR show, Politifact.
There is one major complication with the current adult-use law as passed on April 7th: Dispensaries will still not be licensed to sell adult-use marijuana products until January 2024, leaving a two and a half year gap between the time marijuana is legal for all adults 21 and over to possess, and the time it is legal to purchase without a medical marijuana card.
Several lawmakers were against moving legalization of possession up to this summer, and many cited the potential to encourage illegal/black market sales as their primary objection. When it’s legal to have marijuana but not legal to buy it, ethical issues accompany any sort of enforcement.
Medical Marijuana is Legal to Purchase When You Have a VA Medical Card - But Only at 4 Locations as of May 2021
The original Virginia medical marijuana program only allowed for licensing of five vertically-integrated medical marijuana facilities. Five were approved (one in each service zone), but one dropped out and has yet to be replaced.
The good news is that later legislation allowed the originally-approved producers to open five additional dispensaries each, for a total potential of 30 dispensaries dispersed throughout the state.
Expanded Dispensary Locations in Virginia’s Future
So far, however, Beyond/Hello in Manassas is the only company with visible plans to expand to additional locations. According to The Burn, covering Loudoun County, Hello/Beyond is planning to open a Sterling, VA location by the end of 2021.
At the beginning of May, 2021, Green Thumb Industries (GTI) officially announced its plans to purchase the Abingdon (formerly located in Bristol) dispensary, Dharma Pharmaceuticals, for $80 million. GTI is the second largest cannabis producer in the country, and we imagine the company has plans to expand its locations as soon as possible.
Three Dispensaries Deliver Medical Marijuana Right to Your Door
Fortunately, medical marijuana patients don’t necessarily have to drive for hours in order to get their natural relief. Three of the four VA dispensaries will deliver cannabis products like vape pens, tinctures, edibles, and eventually flower, straight to your door. Together, they cover most (if not all) of the Commonwealth.
Beyond/Hello in Manassas serves Manassas, Gainesville, Bristow, and Haymarket. The company promised delivery within two hours.
Dharma Pharmaceuticals covers a huge portion of the state with its delivery service, and fees vary depending on distance. Click here to see a map of Dharma’s delivery area and fees.
GLeaf delivers green relief to most everyone east of I-81 and south of Route 7 in Leesburg.
Dispensaries Will be as Abundant as State Liquor Stores in 2024
For right now, your selection is limited to the four producers who have our dispensary locations and deliver throughout the state. However, the cap on the number of adult-use dispensaries (400) is about the same as the number of liquor stores in the Commonwealth (392), according to a recent editorial piece in the Roanoke Times.
Despite the high number of dispensaries, more conservative areas of Virginia (like the Southwest portion) may end up missing out on all the fun—and tax revenue. Local municipalities can choose to ban marijuana dispensaries if that’s what the voters want.
Virginia’s law allowing the restriction, however, is incredibly pro-business. Local governments must enact their ban on marijuana sales by 2022, through a voter referendum. This means that it will only happen if the voters of that particular location decide that it’s best for their community to prohibit cannabis sales. If they do not enact a ban by the 2022 deadline, they cannot change their minds.
This is so that dispensaries have plenty of time to get their buds … ahem … ducks in a row by the time the 2024 adult-use program opens up.
You Can Grow Your Own Marijuana Plants Starting July 1, 2021
If you want to try your hand at growing your own marijuana plants, you can put your seeds in the ground starting on July 1. On this date, it will be legal for each household to grow up to four plants for personal use.
There are not very many restrictions on your green thumb pursuits. Just that they are out of reach of people under 21, out of sight from the road or other public places, and labeled with your name, driver’s license or ID number, and contact information.
If you get started as soon as it’s legal, you may be able to get a harvest in before the first autumn frost. Or you could grow your plants inside with grow lights or even a hydroponic setup for faster maturation.
A Medical Marijuana Card Provides Convenient Access Now, and Other Benefits
The best way to get legal access to cannabis products right now is to get yourself a VA marijuana card. When you have a medical marijuana card, you don’t even have to leave your couch to get the relief you deserve. Well … you’ll need to answer your door when your delivery arrives, but you can stay on the couch until it does!
In addition to having access to cannabis products right now, a Virginia marijuana card provides employee protections for most marijuana cardholders, tax-free marijuana products, and higher possession limits.
The understanding health practitioners at Virginia Marijuana Card are qualified to recommend medical marijuana, and they can help you determine the best treatment plan to meet your personal wellness goals.
Don’t wait for the natural relief you deserve right now! Make a marijuana evaluations appointment today, to make 2021 your best year yet!
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 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. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to join the medical marijuana conversation in Virginia!