Beginning of a new era
Medical cannabis dispensary to open in Staunton
Five companies have been approved to open the state’s first medical cannabis dispensaries, including one in Staunton.
Illinois-based PharmaCann plans to open a facility at the Green Hills Industry and Technology Center off Technology Drive and Commerce Avenue in Staunton by the end of this year.
Staunton Mayor Carolyn Dull was one of the early supporters of the project.
“Not only will this pharmaceutical processor help improve the lives of citizens who are suffering from chronic illnesses, but it will support our local economy with significant capital investment and new, high-wage jobs,” Dull wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Virginia Board of Pharmacy in June.
Staunton is all too familiar with the negative impact of the nation’s opioid epidemic, the mayor says. “It is my hope that PharmaCann will assist in providing local medical professionals with additional resources to help combat this problem locally.”
One company was chosen to supply each of Virginia’s five health districts. The Staunton facility will serve the Shenandoah Valley and the Charlottesville area.
“Our economic development team believes the operation will fit well with the other industries located here and be easily accessible to those in need of its services,” Dull says.
Founded in 2014, PharmaCann is one of the largest medical cannabis providers in the U.S. The company was purchased in October by California-based MedMen, creating a combined company with operating licenses in 12 states. PharmaCann recently rebranded its dispensaries and production centers as Verilife and Veriplant, respectively.
The Staunton facility will consist of approximately 25,000 square feet of production, retail and office space.
Patients with a doctor’s recommendation will be able to buy CBD and THC-A oils, which help alleviate pain and calm the nervous system, on site. These oils contain less than 5 percent THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
Approved patients must register with the program in their health service area and receive their recommended medical cannabis products at that location.
Under Virginia law, the dispensaries will be vertically integrated, meaning the cannabis must be grown, processed and dispensed in the same location.
Legislation to allow cannabidiol processors in Virginia was introduced last year by Del. Ben Cline (now a congressman representing Virginia’s 6th District) and signed into law by Gov. Ralph Northam. The law, known as Let Doctors Decide, allows any practicing doctor in Virginia to recommend the use of medical cannabis oils as a course of treatment.
The five approved medical cannabis facilities across Virginia will have one year to become operational and begin dispensing medical cannabis oils to registered Virginia patients.