Virginia's very first medicinal marijuana dispensaries could inaugurate in a little over a year, and one is apt to be in Hampton Roads.
However, you can eradicate thoughts of cannabis fields bending in the wind. And in comparison to where Colorado is currently at, we are a long ways away.
What’s intended is more clinical and adequately suited to a metropolitan area, according to some of the city and state officials.
“This isn’t the recreational stuff taken to an enterprise level,” announced state Del. Glenn Davis, who helped victor enactment that has increased the production potentialities and approachability of cannabis oil for medicinal value.
“This is significant technology going into helping to maintain a quality and consistent product” for those with medicinal demands. The cases he's seen are solely indoors, stated Davis, a Republican who plays a role in the representation of Virginia Beach.
51 applications have already been submitted to Virginia's Board of Pharmacy by companies from both in- and out-of-state wanting to set up shop in one of five healthcare regions here in Virginia. Fifteen applications have narrowed to an area that extends from South Hampton Roads to Williamsburg, according to Davis. The board will govern the emerging industry and its entrepreneurs.
Due to confidentiality laws, Virginia isn’t releasing the names of the applicants however city officials say businesses have manifested interest in Virginia Beach and Suffolk. Chesapeake officials have similarly signed letters of support for now two companies seeking necessary licenses.
The board could announce which five businesses will gain provisional approval at a city conference this autumn, according to a spokeswoman. Dispensaries will then also have one year to establish the necessary local zoning sanctions.
Answers to common questions about the emerging industry:
What Is a Dispensary?
It’s a facility – technically a “pharmaceutical processor” – that’s been sanctioned by the Board of Pharmacy to cultivate marijuana plants for the production of cannabidiol, or THC-A, oil, according to the board’s website.
All stages of the production process, from growing the plants to harvesting and dispensing the merchandise, will be managed onsite by one provider. The oil generated by the dispensaries may contain no more than 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical element in cannabis that creates a euphoric-high.
Products will be available to patients who have a written recommendation from a doctor to treat the indications of any diagnosed condition or disease with the oil. Patients and doctors must register with the board before seeking consultations. There’s additionally a $50 enrollment and yearly renewal fee for both.
Businesses who have submitted applications have paid nonrefundable fees of $10,000. If permitted, the license fee is $60,000, according to the board’s website. The annual renewal fee is an additional $10,000.
What do local officials say?
In a July delivering, Warren Harris, director of Virginia Beach’s Economic Development, told City Council members that cannabidoil is “considered highly safe and highly regulated” and draws an opportunity for capital expenditure and job openings.
Mayor Rick West and Chesapeake City Manager James Baker recently signed letters of provision for Chesapeake Bay Therapeutics and Tidewater Therapeutics to open dispensaries.
“I really don’t see a downside,” West acknowledged by phone Via the Virginia-Pilot, adding that medical benefits have been strongly documented. “If we have that possibility to do it and do it without any negative impacts on our community or society, then I think we should go forward.”
The Legislation presented back in 2015 to people with drug-resistant epilepsy and their caregivers granted a legal defense for the possession of cannabidoil. However the product couldn’t be obtained in Virginia; the law solely provided some protection for patients receiving their medicine from out of state, according to Jenn Michelle Pedini, executive director for Virginia National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Laws have since passed that establishes a framework to produce and dispense the oil in Virginia. And this year, the General Assembly unanimously approved expanding the legislation to allow any licensed medical doctor or osteopath to certify the oil’s use by patients with any medical condition considered appropriate.
“It’s a sound public policy,” Pedini said. “Instead of legislating conditions, we’re simply allowing physicians to do their jobs and removing legislators from the doctor-patient relationship.”
Advocates and officials have said these changes could help stem the tide of opioid abuse.
Does this mean cannabidoil is now legal?
No, not yet. The law does not make the possession of cannabis oil now legal. But it renders a legal defense for people certified by a licensed doctor to use it if found in their possession.
“This is not an ideal situation,” Pedini stated, perceiving that most cannabis charges stem from traffic stops. Virginia NORML advises that patients or their caregivers have signed a legal certificate with them at all times to manifest if asked by law enforcement and/or use in court as needed for their protection.
“It isn’t a backdoor to recreational use,” Davis stated. “The hoops the doctor, and the dispensary, and the user have to jump through even to be able to handle this is pretty significant.”
According to Business Insider, recreational marijuana is legal in nine (9) states, and medical marijuana is legal in 30 states. Marijuana, however, is still illegal on a federal level, go figure.
How will it be regulated?
If you are planning on coming into contact with cannabis oil then you first must ensure you are registered.
While at the dispensary no recommendations for use will be offered, Davis said, and prescribing doctors can’t have financial ties to the facility, nor can their family members or employees.
Unique product numbers will be assigned at Virginia state level as part of a prescription-monitoring service, Davis said. Criminal background checks for employees are among one of the requirements on a laundry list of ordinances and requirements for patients, doctors, and processors, and the state has already set aside plenty.
Rule: Patients or caregivers must pick up the first dose in person. Afterward, it can be provided through a delivery service, but cannot be mailed or shipped, according to Davis.
Cracking the door to broader legalization policies may still be up for debate in Virginia, but most advocates appear to recognize the dispensaries are a step in the right direction for helping people find real relief for a myriad of pathological ailments closer to home.
“It will be exciting to have a regulated cannabis industry in Virginia that will also put their lobbying power behind more robust common-sense reform,” Pedini stated.