It’s a good time to celebrate for medical cannabis patients in Virginia. On October 17, the state opened its first medical cannabis dispensary, Darma Pharmaceuticals, located in Bristol. This is the first of five medical dispensaries the Virginia Board of Pharmacy has approved of. More are set to open throughout the rest of this year.
The opening is exciting news for Virginians as they’ve been waiting nearly five years for this moment. Back in 2015, a law was passed that allowed for those with a doctor’s recommendation to possess CBD oil and THCA oil. In 2019, legislation allowed for doses that contained 10mg of THC.
And it’s happening just in time for farmers to pick and trim their fall harvest. Green Leaf Medical—a dispensary that will service the Richmond area – is currently in the works of turning their fresh bud into products.
Unfortunately, Virginia is one of the few medically legalized states that doesn’t allow patients to obtain smokable cannabis flowers. There have been initiatives to change this regulation, but the most recent was denied.
While this is frustrating for those of us trying to put an end to cannabis stigma, it’s going to have the biggest effect on medical patients. As Jack Page, chief operating officer of Dharma Pharmaceuticals in Bristol, told Virginia Mercury, “We’re all about patient access and we want to reduce cost as much as possible. We see in other states that have a flower that there is a direct reduction in the cost for patients. There are also certain conditions better treated with flower.”
Virginia may not be the most noteworthy state when it comes to legalization. Their process has been slow and restricting compared to nearby neighbors like New Jersey and Washington D.C. However, slowly but surely, progress is being made.
In April of this year, Virginia passed legislation that made simple marijuana possession decriminalized, which took effect in July. Not to mention, polls reveal that nearly 62 percent of Virginians are in support of recreational cannabis.