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What you need to know about the medical marijuana coming to Virginia in 2019

RICHMOND, Va. — While tobacco has long been Virginia’s cash crop of choice, the creation of five medical cannabis processing facilities and dispensaries across the state will mark the emergence of a new kind of lucrative plant.

The framework of Virginia’s state-regulated medical cannabis industry was established in a slew of bills during the 2018 and 2019 General Assembly sessions, including SB 1557, which took effect on July 1.

The five processing and dispensing facilities will enable Virginians to access therapeutic strength, Board of Pharmacy regulated cannabis products after receiving approval by a certified doctor, physicians assistant or nurse practitioner.

The drug is not prescribed in the Commonwealth because marijuana remains illegal on a federal level.

Instead, Virginia created an “affirmative defense” which protects patients from criminal charges for possessing CBD and THC-A oil.

To invoke the defense, patients must meet with a Board of Pharmacy registered health care provider, receive a written certification for use, and then register with the Board.

Patients will then receive an affirmative defense card which enables them to legally buy, carry and consume regulated, medical-grade cannabis products purchased from one of the state’s five dispensaries.

The five facilities, one for each of the state’s health service areas, allow each company to handle the entire manufacturing process for their given jurisdiction – from growing marijuana and extracting the CBD, THC, and THC-A oils to running the dispensary storefronts that they sell through.

Green Leaf Medical Cannabis will serve “Health Service Area 4”, which encompasses 27 counties including Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties and the cities of Richmond, Petersburg, Hopewell and Colonial Heights.

The company is a multi-state operator currently cultivating and dispensing medical cannabis in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.

In March, Green Leaf filed plans with the city to begin building their oil processing facility in South Richmond at 2804 Decatur St. near the Clopton Siteworks development in the Swansboro neighborhood. [Read More @ WTVR]

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