While its efforts to expand to Chesterfield have been thwarted for the moment, the region’s medical cannabis provider has officially set up shop in the city of Richmond.
Green Leaf Medical (stylized “gLeaf”) recently opened a retail medical dispensary called Cannabist at 3100 W. Cary St. in Carytown, where the company has taken over the former Need Supply Co. clothing store.
Certified patients of the state’s medical cannabis program can buy cannabis buds, joints, edibles and other products in the 5,600-square-foot store.
The Cannabist name is a retail brand launched last year by Green Leaf’s parent company, New York-based cannabis company Columbia Care.
Though the Carytown outpost doesn’t have the gLeaf branding that the company’s Short Pump location has, Green Leaf President Phil Goldberg confirmed in a recent interview the Carytown location counts toward Green Leaf’s limit of five satellite dispensaries within its state-approved market territory. That territory includes the Richmond region.
The Carytown outpost went into action just as Green Leaf suffered a setback south of the river.
The Chesterfield Board of Zoning Appeals on Wednesday voted against the company’s appeal of a county staff decision to reject a building permit sought for a planned Midlothian dispensary. Chesterfield staff said they rejected the permit because of marijuana’s illegal status on the federal level.
Elsewhere, Green Leaf is working on another dispensary in Colonial Heights, which is planned to open early next year. The center of Green Leaf’s Virginia-based operations is a cannabis cultivation and processing facility that also features a dispensary in Manchester.
The opening in Carytown caps off more than a year of work on the dispensary. Goldberg announced the Carytown location during a BizSense event held in July 2021. A store employee said Wednesday that the Carytown dispensary opened in the last few days.
Need Supply Co. closed down its Carytown storefront when the company ended operations in 2020 due to pressures from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While state law allows people to grow, possess and use recreational cannabis, it’s still illegal to sell recreational marijuana. A bid to kick off recreational retail sales failed in the General Assembly earlier this year. Only select companies are allowed to sell cannabis under the state’s medical program.
Columbia Care is the state-sanctioned medical cannabis operator for coastal Virginia, including Hampton Roads. Its Cannabist brand has outposts in Portsmouth as well as in Virginia Beach.
There are more than 30 Cannabist dispensaries nationwide, and a Cannabist location is slated to open near Williamsburg, which is in Columbia Care’s territory, according to the company’s website. Columbia Care operates other retail brands in addition to Cannabist.