PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The region’s only medical marijuana dispensary will open its facility in Portsmouth.

City officials made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re very excited. This is a real significant thing in Portsmouth. It’s going to be a big deal,” said Mayor John Rowe.

Rowe and Robert Moore, who is the director of economic development for the city, said the company, Columbia Care, selected Portsmouth out many proposed locations for the facility.

Columbia Care is one of five dispensaries that will open in the state. Its application was approved by the Virginia State Board of Pharmacy earlier this year.

“It’s really a feather in Portsmouth’s cap that we become the place and a big footprint of the area,” Rowe said.

Rowe said the region stretches from the Eastern Shore all the way out to Danville and from the North Carolina border up to Richmond.

They believe Portsmouth was chosen because of its location and easy access of the interstate.

“For us to have this facility in Portsmouth made sense, a central location everyone can come to, have easy access to from the interstate to meet their needs,” Moore said.

Moore said the company will start with 24 employees that will help cultivate grow, extract and dispense the cannabis oils to state registered patients.

The facility will be housed in an already built location off Greenwood Drive.

Moore believes that Columbia Care is a compassionate company that brings with it a lot of professionalism and they’re excited that have them in the city.

According to city officials, the company was recently valued at $1.3 billion and has a number of other facilities in multiple states.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, Columbia Care also stated their excitement for choosing Portsmouth as its new location.

“We are excited to begin the process of building out our new facility in Portsmouth and look forward to working with the Mayor and local officials to do so. Portsmouth is a perfectly suited location that will enable us to serve patients and families throughout the entire Hampton Roads region, and the Commonwealth of Virginia, with our pharmaceutical-quality CBD and THC-A oils. We expect to employ dozens of local people, from pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and those who have degrees in chemistry and biology to those looking for entry level positions.”

Rowe and Moore believe the company’s decision to pick Portsmouth highlights the hard work their team has done to attract businesses.

“We said good choice! It shows a lot of wisdom. Portsmouth is really central in Hampton Roads. We’re the heart of Hampton Roads. We understand they chose use because of our central location, availability of space and our business friendly environment that we can help people get to the finish line when they start a business,”  Rowe said.

The city officials expect for the company to open in spring 2019.

Moore believes that this is just the start of a bright future for the city.

“We have Columbia Care, the potential location of City Hall, the redevelopment of the Waterfront. These are all building blocks that will not just affect us in May 2020, but in 2030, 2040, 2050. We’re laying that foundation for the future.”