BOYKINS, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton Roads company is gearing up for the legalization of marijuana in July.

Earlier this month, the General Assembly passed a bill to legalize simple possession of marijuana and limited home growth beginning July 1, 2021, three years sooner than initially planned. Recreational sales still won’t be legal until 2024.

“It was a sigh of relief,” said James Lee, the owner of Chesapeake-based Bon Bon Farms.

In 2019, the rooms at the Boykins factory were filled with hemp plants, but now the rooms are empty.

“We are shifting our focus from growing hemp to the processing … side,” Lee added.

But Bon Bon Farms is still very much in the cannabis game. Staff says growing plants isn’t as cost-effective as just processing them. Lee just purchased a $250,000 state-of-the-art cannabis extracting machine. It gets the best CBD oils out of help plants and in the near future, the best THC from cannabis.

“There’s really not a lot of people running this system right now,” Lee said. “We want to hit the ground running. We don’t want the market to have an undersupply. We want to be able to provide for the market because we know how long Virginia has waited for this.”

It will soon be legal to grow plants in homes in the commonwealth. James Lee’s gamble paid off when he started the company.

“It is still sinking in, to be honest,” Lee added.

Commercial distribution won’t be legal for a couple of years, but when it is, Lee will be able to manufacture edibles, gummies and other products.

“It’s not legal yet, but I think July Fourth weekend is going to be the dawn of a new era,” Lee said.

Lee says until commercial distribution is legal, the company will try to educate the public on using cannabis safely.

After July 1, Virginians still won’t be able to smoke marijuana in public and in a vehicle. Penalties remain for youth use and possession on school property.