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The legalization of marijuana dispensaries is on the horizon in Virginia. So Norfolk is creating some ground rules.

Virginian-Pilot
Virginian-Pilot
 2022-08-12

City officials are moving ahead with plans to create zoning rules for cannabis dispensaries, cultivation or manufacturing ahead of its anticipated legalization in Virginia.

While possession and recreational use of cannabis is legal in Virginia, purchasing it in stores is not. Cannabis is expected to be legal to buy in stores by 2024, although the timeline remains uncertain. But Norfolk city planners said Thursday at a planning commission meeting they are preparing new rules in anticipation of its full legalization.

Among the rules proposed are that all cannabis-related facilities will need a conditional use permit approved by Norfolk City Council, must be located 1,000 feet from any school or daycare and will be limited to operating between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Planning commissioners asked city staff what the facilities could look like when sales finally begin.

“Is this the brewery of the future where you go on site and you’re able to sample the product, and you might get food from a food truck?” Planning Commission Chair Kevin Murphy asked. “Is this the way the industry is evolving?”

Not quite, city officials said.

City Planner Rob Brennan said cannabis dispensaries could resemble “a cross between an apple store, a pharmacy and the DMV.”

Daniel Berti, daniel.berti@virginiamedia.com

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