Cannabist Hampton, the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary, now open

Cannabist Hampton, the first medical marijuana dispensary in the city, is open for business.

A line of customers wrapped around the building on Cunningham Drive for the grand opening Thursday morning.

“Opening this up is great,” said Poquoson resident Dale Wagner, one of the customers. “It’s a really nice store, with friendly staff. I think you’re better off buying marijuana from a professional establishment than you would be buying off of the street where you do not know what you’re gonna get.”

The Cannabist brand is owned by Columbia Care — one of the largest cultivators, manufacturers and retailers of cannabis products in the country. It sells a variety of medical marijuana products — including edibles, flower and vapes. The Hampton location is the fourth medical marijuana dispensary in the Hampton Roads area, with the other three in Williamsburg, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach.

“We chose this specific location in Hampton because of the growing patient population and the accessibility for the communities on the Peninsula as we strive to serve all of Tidewater,” said Jesse Channon, Chief Growth Officer of Columbia Care, in a news release.

Cannabist Hampton occupies what was once an ABC store. Local resident Jennifer Saldana said she appreciated having a location in a “central area” like Hampton.

“I can absolutely say that it’s just nice to have some things more local and convenient rather than to have to cross the bridge,” Saldana said.

Ngiste Abebe, Vice President of Public Policy at Columbia Care, said the new location already is a success, with 100 pre-orders. She said people seek their products to treat a wide variety of illnesses and symptoms, but that the top three reasons to consume cannabis is to manage insomnia, anxiety and pain.

According to Abebe, patients must first consult a pharmacist and explain what type of relief they seek. The pharmacists then help match patients with the products they need.

She said it’s crucial for patients to be able to access to cannabis medicine that is safe and provides relief.

“There are a lot of different folks claiming to sell cannabis in some form or another,” Abebe said. “The medical cannabis program in Virginia is the only program that has the safeguards in place so that customers know and patients know what they’re buying is what they’re getting. And if somebody is seeking cannabis in Virginia, the medical cannabis program is the safest and most reliable way to access it.”

For more information on the process of getting medical cannabis, visit the Board of Pharmacy’s website at bit.ly/3Ke9NjH.

For more information on the Hampton location, visit www.gocannabist.com/hampton.

Josh Janney, joshua.janney@virginiamedia.com

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