Prince William County will soon be home to one of five new medical marijuana facilities opening in the state of Virginia following the passage of state laws allowing healthcare practitioners to issue medical cannabis “certifications” to patients in need.
Dalitso LLC, a Virginia-based company that specializes in the production of medical cannabis, will open its doors in the Manassas area later this year. The company is expected to begin growing medical cannabis in December and will likely have a crop by early spring, according to the company’s spokesman, Aaron Lopez.
Dalitso will grow, process and dispense medicinal cannabis products all in one facility, Lopez said. The company will grow marijuana indoors and process the plant to extract CBD and THC-A oils on site. The products will then be sold through a dispensary storefront located in the same building.
The Manassas-area building is Dalitso’s only current venture, Lopez said. The company has not yet revealed the location of the facility because it’s still finalizing permits with Prince William County.
“Dalitso started from a group of Virginians that felt they could be strong patient advocates and to a great job of producing safe and effective products for their citizens,” Lopez said. “This is our first venture into this market. We will only have one building located here in Virginia.”
Under Virginia law, the dispensary will be able to sell medical cannabis products in a variety of forms including oils, capsules, topicals, lozenges, lollipops and suppositories, with an allowance of up to 10 of THC each. Dispensaries are only able to provide up to a 90-day supply at a time.
None of the facilities’ products will be covered by insurance because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.
Also because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, cannabis products are not prescribed in the United States but are recommended or certified to patients. In Virginia, patients are protected from criminal charges for possessing medical cannabis by the state’s “affirmative defense” laws.
Both providers and patients must register and receive certification from the Virginia Department of Health in order to participate in the program.
By law, the only practitioners who may issue certifications are medical doctors, physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and osteopathic physicians.
As of Sept. 13, 341 practitioners and 1,013 patients were registered with the program statewide, according to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy.
Virginia’s five dispensaries are setting up shop in each of the state’s five health service areas. Dalitso LLC will serve Health Service Area II, which includes Loudoun, Prince William, Arlington and Fairfax counties and the cities of Falls Church, Fairfax City, Manassas, Manassas Park and Alexandria.
The Prevention Alliance of Greater Prince William, a community advocacy group, invited Lopez and NORML Development Director Jenn Michelle Pedini to speak to the group about the new facility at a Sept. 18 meeting at Novant Health UVA Prince William Medical Center.
Lopez and Pedini fielded questions from members, who raised concerns about the safety of the company’s products and how strictly the facility will be regulated.
Lopez said the facility will be regulated by the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, which will provide monthly checks to make sure the facility meets its regulatory standards. Products will be tested both on-site and by a third-party lab to assess the exact amount of THC and CBD in each product and to ensure products are free of additives.
“That’s the main goal of this company, to make sure that it’s provided in a safe, effective and efficient way,” Lopez said. “We just want to make sure that the small bit of the population that needs this, that it’s accessible to them.”
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