PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — From the outside, it looks like any other light industrial complex, but inside, the aroma speaks for itself.

Workers are busy preparing plants for the opening of Hampton Roads’ first medical marijuana dispensary. Don’t bother buying rolling paper or a pipe. Columbia Care dispensary pharmacist, Ray Hernandez, says anything made in the facility must originate with the plant’s oils.

“Virginia is an oil market — that means all products are derived from the oil of the plants. That’s going to put us in a place where we have tincture varieties, concentrates, tablets, vapes, and some topical applications as well,” said Hernandez.

Prices may vary but one ounce of CBD oil marketed on the company’s website sells for about $80.

Workers inspect marijuana plants
(Photo courtesy: Columbia Care)

The state’s first of four medical cannabis facilities opened in Bristol, Virginia, last weekend, and a second is due to open in Richmond in October. The Portsmouth facility on Seaboard Court will miss Black Friday and probably all of the busy shopping season.

“We could be looking at January but right now we are targeting the end of 2020,” said Hernandez.

Virginia is one of 47 states with some form of legalized medicinal marijuana which has been prescribed for a number of illnesses and disorders.

“When you talk to veterans who are suffering from PTSD, when you talk to children parents of children with Gervais syndrome, when you have a chance to meet the patients face-to-face and learn what cannabis has done for them, ” said Hernandez.

The Seaboard Court dispensary is a no-appointment-needed facility but there’s plenty of homework to do before you arrive. There’s no entry without a Virginia Medical Registration card.

Pharmacist Ray Hernandez
(Photo courtesy: Columbia Care)

“To get that, you would first have to consult with a physician or practitioner that’s registered with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to issue those certificates which are generally good for a year. Send a copy of your certificate and copy of your driver’s license to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy; then you would get your registration card,” he said.

Hernandez adds the Virginia NORML website, has a good layout of step-by-step instructions and the website can also help you find a doctor close to where you live who is already registered to help you with cannabis consults.

(Photo courtesy: Columbia Care)

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