Medical marijuana processing facility being built in a portion of vacant Bristol Mall

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BRISTOL, VA. (WJHL)- Inside a part of the old mall where people once shopped at JCPenney’s, customers soon will be able to buy medical marijuana.

“Virginia has required us to be vertically integrated and so we have to grow, process and dispense from one location,” said Chief Operating Officer Jack Page.

The CBD and THC-A oil-extract based products will be available to customers referred by a medical professional and approved by the state.

“If they have their medical card, they can come on site. It will be verified here and then they will sit down with one of our pharmacists and they will make a recommendation to the product formulation that works specific to their needs,” says Chief Executive Officer Shanna Berry.

Dharma Pharmaceuticals is one of five licenses holders across Virginia. Berry, Page and Chief Pharmacy Officer Michael Johnson serve as the company’s executive team.

“We chose Bristol because we’re all life-long local residents of Bristol number one and number two with the economic status of the city- being locals here we wanted to step in and provide and we felt like this was a good area based on the population density,” said Berry.

And a good area – in need of a cure for the opioid epidemic.

“In areas across the country where medical cannabis is available,” Berry says. “There has been as much as a 35% reduction in those areas reported in opioid use.”

Security will be paramount, according to Darma Pharmaceuticals.

Our camera wasn’t allowed past what will be the waiting room. And that’s not all.

“We are implementing a card security system so that each employee will have a card that they will scan that will let them in the specific room that they are authorized to be in,” said Page. “Security cameras will be running 24/7 as well. The commonwealth requires us to have an off-site back up.”

Dharma Pharmaceuticals target opening date is next spring. The Board of Pharmacy is set to inspect the finished facility in mid-December. When the green light is given- it will take about 120 days to grow the plant.

It will then go through 30 days of testing through a third party company.

If you live in Tennessee- you won’t be able to get medical marijuana at the facility. It’s only for Virginia residents.

The company is also hiring for several positions on the corporate and production levels.

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