ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The first medical marijuana dispensary in Virginia’s largest county opened on Wednesday. The new BEYOND / HELLO Cannibus Dispensary store borders Alexandria along Richmond Highway.
The store, which will be given a ribbon-cutting ceremony next week, began selling products on Wednesday. Customers, and those with the store and its ownership, say it’s coming to the right place at the right time.
“It provides access to about 400,000 people that live within a 15-minute drive time,” said Brendon Lynch, Jushi’s executive vice president of retail. “So we’re very excited to be able to have that access.”
The location is exciting for customers like William Barry, a Northern Virginia resident who works in Washington, D.C.
“I can’t sleep at night, sometimes [I have] anxiety,” he said. “[Medical marijuana] helps to calm me down. Throw on some shades, I’m relaxed, I’m not panicking. And at night, I get a good night sleep, prepare for work the next day.”
The expansion of the medical marijuana industry in Northern Virginia comes as the future of recreational marijuana in the commonwealth is still unclear.
But medical marijuana was expanded on July 1 — now people just need a signed note from a doctor, they no longer need approval from the Board of Pharmacy.
“We’re seeing a lot of people view the program now as something that’s commercial for them,” said Trent Woloveck, the chief commercial director of Jushi Holdings Inc.
That change cleared a backlog, but Woloveck said the market in Virginia is smaller than other states. He said a “mature medical market” is between 2% and 3% of the state’s population. That’s about 170,000 people in Virginia. But Woloveck said Virginia’s market is only about 50,000-60,000 people.
“We’re really focused and excited, and [will] help educate individuals around medical cannabis in the commonwealth,” Woloveck said.
“I feel like medical cannabis brings people together and that’s something we need right now with everything going on in the world,” Barry said.
A bill to allow recreational sale of marijuana to adults in Virginia was killed in the Republican-controlled House. If that bill ever does pass, BEYOND / HELLO said it will try to be a leader in the market by selling products that are safe and standardized.