Virginia’s limited medical marijuana program launches

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Virginia’s first medical cannabis dispensary opened Saturday morning in a limited market projected to reach only around $10 million in sales in 2021.

Virginia became the 33rd state to launch an MMJ program, an hour before Missouri started sales.

Virginia-based Dharma Pharmaceuticals opened its dispensary in Bristol by appointment only, according to a company news release.

Dharma is one of handful of vertically integrated businesses licensed to serve the state. The others are:

  • Virginia-based Dalitso, now majority owned by Florida-based Jushi Holdings.
  • Maryland-based Green Leaf Medical.
  • New York-based Columbia Care.

One license is vacant after Los Angeles-based MedMen Enterprises was forced to surrender its permit.

Medical marijuana products in Virginia are limited to cannabis oils, edibles such as lozenges and lollipops and vape cartridges with single doses capped at 10 milligrams of THC.

The 2020 Marijuana Business Factbook projects medical cannabis sales in Virginia will total $9 million-$11 million in the first full year in 2021, expanding gradually to $45 million-$55 million by 2024.

Despite the current restrictions, Virginia is seen as an attractive market because of its limited licensing and the probability of flower being allowed in the near future, which likely would double sales.

Virginia also might experience the domino effect of adult-use legalization if New Jersey voters pass recreational marijuana on Nov. 3.