By Shawn Nowlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
A former bank building in Salem is now home to a medical marijuana dispensary.
Located at 1634 West Main Street, RISE Salem held its ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 28 and officially opened for business five days later. Profits from the first day of sales were donated to a local non-profit organization, according to a company spokesperson.
Earlier this summer, Dharma Pharmaceuticals was acquired by Green Thumb Industries, a national cannabis CPG company that also owns Rise™ Dispensaries.
In addition to a variety of vapes, edibles, concentrates, tinctures and topicals, the dispensary also offers a variety of consumption methods for each patient’s specific needs. To purchase any product, customers must be a registered patient with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy.
RISE Salem represents a new chapter for Virginia’s medical marijuana industry. No longer will patients have to travel significant distances to get their products, something Dharma Pharmaceuticals’ Virginia Market Leader Jack Page is elated about.
“We had a great turnout for our ribbon-cutting last week, which shows us that people are eager for a medical cannabis dispensary to be in their communities,” he said. “We are looking forward to working with the legislature during the 2022 General Assembly session to finalize the adult use program, particularly the social equity program.”
Misconceptions about medical marijuana are plentiful and range from causing patients physical harm to FDA approval must be required to pass legislation. Currently, 49 states have acknowledged the medical value of marijuana, all without FDA approval. Compared to many prescription drugs’ risks, the side effects of marijuana are relatively modest.
Added Page, “We have seen a significant amount of acceptance for cannabis, especially with the state legalizing adult-use. People are beginning to understand that medical cannabis has the ability to help many people. More people are looking for alternatives for sleep, anxiety and pain, and relying on cannabis to aid them.”
RISE Salem is the first off-site cannabis dispensary in Virginia. As well as a drive-thru, the new location has a delivery hub too. Salem native John Harris says he noticed an increase of Main Street traffic in recent days. “At first I didn’t know what was going on, said Harris with a smile before adding, “After I found out, it made all the sense in the world.”
Compared to just a few years ago, tremendous progress pertaining to medical marijuana has been made. Today, the industry makes more money than hotels and tourism.
“We are excited to open the first Rise™ location in Virginia and our first store in a southeastern state,” said Green Thumb Founder and Chief Executive Officer Ben Kovler. “As cannabis acceptance sweeps the country, we are honored to expand our retail footprint and to be the first medical cannabis dispensary in the Roanoke region. We look forward to meeting more community members and introducing them to the Rise™ retail experience.”