RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Starting Friday, those with qualifying medical conditions can now purchase whole flower cannabis in Virginia.
Two cannabis operators in the state are leading the charge. gLeaf Medical in Richmond and Columbia Care, based in Portsmouth, have been collaborating and preparing for today.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed legislation to allow smokable marijuana sales. That law took effect on Sept. 1. Prior to this, dispensaries have been selling products manufactured from the oil of the plant. The Virginia Board of Pharmacy reviewed the first whole flower cannabis batch at Colombia Care and gLeaf Medical and the companies received full approval within the last 48 hours.
Raymond Hernandez is the Columbia Care Virginia Pharmacist in Charge and Market Director. According to Hernandez, this form of cannabis was in high demand and patients have been requesting it for years.
“A lot of the products we do make by extracting the oil of the plant, are highly effective but you do lose some of those minor cannabinoids and terpenes,” said Hernandez.
Hernandez said these make the plant unique and special.
“Some of that can be lost in the extraction and the manufacturing process,” said Hernandez.
Today there was a long line of patients waiting outside of gLeaf Medical in Richmond.
Samer Abiloma with gLeaf told 8news that whole flower cannabis is their most popular form of cannabis and it is the least concentrated.
“This is a big day for Richmond and patients in Virginia,” said Abiloma.
Hernandez called today a “major milestone,” as whole flower cannabis typically provides the most therapeutic benefit for patients.
“This is a big day for all of us in the Commonwealth but most importantly for the medical patients who have been asking for this and seeking this form of medication,” said Hernandez.
Sales are limited to medical cardholders who have a doctor certification and a medical marijuana registration card from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy. The legal limit is four ounces of botanical cannabis per month per patient. While factoring in other cannabis purchases, patients cannot exceed a 90-day supply over the course of 90 days.
The companies are looking to add eight more locations in Virginia.