NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A medical marijuana dispensary will open in Norfolk Thursday.

The Cannabist, located on Granby Street, is one of only five of its kind in Hampton Roads and the first in the Mermaid City.

The store’s parent company, Columbia Care, has four other stores in the area: one in Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, and Williamsburg.

The company’s vice president of public policy, Ngiste Abebe, said there’s a high demand in Virginia for dispensaries like Cannabist.

“Virginians from all walks of life, all generations, all races and creeds are using medical cannabis to manage their illnesses and finding great results,” she said.

She said the store is its own medical relief center.

“When you come to a medical dispensary like the Cannabist, you talk to a pharmacist and pharmacy technicians,” she said. “This is a medical program and it’s here to help people achieve their health and wellness goals and manage the symptoms of chronic illnesses that impact so many Virginians.”

The Cannabist is only for people who have a medical card from a doctor for treatment with cannabis.

The store has a wide range of products from vapes, flower, hemp and more.

“You can buy medical cannabis in a pill,” Abebe said. “It’s not just flower or things you might normally think of cannabis. It can be pills or tea {unintelligible} that you can put in your tea.”

However, Abebe said there is a screening process before anything can hit the shelves, including a pharmacy review and DEA testing.

“So, the medical program just has a higher safety standard because we serve medically vulnerable patients you know, folks who are in chemotherapy,” Abebe said. “They need to know that their products are safe because they’re immune is compromised.”

Columbia Care is already scoping out their next and final dispensary in the Hampton Roads area

“This will be our fifth location in the Hampton Roads area,” Abebe said, “and so we’re working on our sixth and final location.”