STAUNTON – Less than a month after Governor Northam signed the bill to legalize medical marijuana, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy voted to deny MedMen’s request for an extension and rescinded their conditional approval license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Staunton.
The Board of Pharmacy voted to move forward for a request for applications with the timeframe to be announced, according to Virginia NORML’s website. Now the location for the facility can be anywhere in our health service area. The Staunton location was tied to the facility that was awarded the conditional permit in 2018. Originally, this facility was PharmaCann.
In May 2019, PharmaCann Virginia purchased the land at 3 Industry Way in Green Hills Industry and Technology Center for $212,352, according to city records.
Back in August, PharmaCann held a Q&A for residents. Representatives from PharmaCann, the Virginia Medical Cannabis Coalition and the Greater Augusta Prevention Partners held the event to field questions from the public on the new medical cannabis dispensary PharmaCann in Staunton. Back in August, it was said the facility would break ground soon and be able to serve patients by the end of the year, according to officials.
That didn’t happen.
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PharmaCann had one year to make it all happen. The company needed to build the facility, start growing and submit for inspection by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy by the end of 2019 in order to receive a permit to open and begin providing medical cannabis to patients.
But the building site location on 3 Industry Way remained empty. Initial plans were to build a new facility and hire employees.
Then MedMen Enterprises, Inc., a leading cannabis company with operations across the country, announced it would be merging with PharmaCann in one of the biggest deals in the marijuana industry. But in October 2019 MedMen announced the $682 million merger was terminated.
While news of one of the biggest medical cannabis acquisitions falling apart spread within the financial and marijuana business sectors, nothing about the failed acquisition causing delays in opening the dispensary in Staunton was communicated.
As part of a debt settlement package after the merger was terminated, MedMen received the business license for the Staunton facility from PharmaCann.
It was then sold in December 2019 to MM Enterprises, or MedMen, for $10. The 6.64 acres have sat untouched. Per Diane Powers, director of communications at Virginia Department of Health Professions, an inspection of the proposed building facility was performed.
Virginia Board of Pharmacy granted five conditional licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in five health regions in the state. Staunton is located in health service area one, which encompasses the Shenandoah Valley and Charlottesville.
While the other four facilities are making progress in providing medical cannabis to patients, at this time there is no place in Virginia for patients to get their medicine. According to Virginia NORML, Dharma Pharmaceuticals in Bristol will most likely be the first dispensary to service patients.
Reciprocity in Washington, D.C. was not granted to the state, though the District of Columbia did say they would revisit this once the state legalized medical marijuana and the dispensaries opened.
This is a developing story.
Reporter Monique Calello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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