VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia will soon become the first southern state to officially legalize recreational marijuana, but store owners who sell CBD and hemp products will have to wait until 2024 until they can distribute the THC product.
Rita Woods co-started her CBD and hemp shop, called Hemp House Wellness Boutique, three years ago after introducing the product in her old family pharmacy.
In June 2021, Woods said she thought this upcoming legalization of recreational marijuana would help her business in the long run.
"We brought CBD on in a more clinical approach," Woods said. "What's going to end up driving increased sales is education and success on the personal level."
The same goes for co-owner of CBD Virginia Beach, Ashley Earley, who said she didn't see pot legalization deterring people from her CBD or hemp products.
"There's always a possibility that there are slight adjustments to be made," said Earley. "So, I'm not too concerned about it, because I know it takes a good amount of time."
However, keeping up with the times may take just that: time.
Despite recreational use being legalized in a matter of days, distributors like Woods and Earley must wait a few more years until they can sell it.
On top of that, getting all those green checkmarks isn't an easy task. Distributors have to eventually get approval through a developing board called the VCCA, which stands for the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority.
"We're looking at certificate of analysis, we're looking at toxicity reports. We're looking at these things on behalf of our clients," said Woods. "We're going to continue to do that with the diligence we've done for the past three years."
"For us, it will really important to be in the agriculture field, in the clean industry, because we want to have a step up in that application process," said Earley.
Both shop owners said the best thing for the average consumer moving forward is to educate themselves on what is in the products, and how it will impact their mental and physical health.