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Medical cannabis facility could come to Albemarle

Albemarle County officials have given their support to Holistic Virginia, a company that wants to operate a medical cannabis facility on Avon Street Extended.

Both the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Economic Development Authority sent letters of support to a committee with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy for an application for Holistic Virginia LLC to operate a pharmaceutical processing facility in Albemarle.

The state is only issuing one permit per Health Service Area. A permit for the Health Service Area I, which includes Albemarle, was conditionally approved for a facility in Staunton, but the Virginia Board of Pharmacy in June denied a request for an extension. A request for applications for a new pharmaceutical processor for the area was issued in September.

Pharmaceutical processors are authorized to cultivate cannabis plants intended only for producing cannabis oil. Currently, only board-registered patients can purchase the products.

Health Service Area Ih encompasses 32 localities and includes the Charlottesville area, the Shenandoah Valley, up to the Winchester area and over to the Fredericksburg area.

Gov. Ralph Northam recently announced his support for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. On Monday, a work group that studied marijuana legalization in Virginia released its report.

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors discussed its letter of support for the facility in closed session at its Nov. 18 meeting, and voted on sending the letter in open session.

The board’s letter said the company will “afford much-needed career ladder jobs in a quickly expanding business sector” and that locating the facility here “is consistent with Albemarle’s economic development strategic plan with the goal to attract, develop, and promote medical, bioscience, technological, and agribusiness enterprises.”

“Additionally, licensing Holistic Virginia’s location in Albemarle fits with efforts to address historical employment, housing, and social inequities,” Board Chairman Ned Gallaway said in the letter. “It presents as an invaluable opportunity to open doors for potential employees from all walks of life while also serving as an attraction for other innovative industries and boost for demand in other sectors.”

The Albemarle EDA held a special meeting on Nov. 20 to vote on its letter of support. The meeting notice said the facility would be “on Avon Street south of the city limits.”

In the letter, the EDA said the location in Albemarle’s “urban ring” will “afford residents from both the county and the city of Charlottesville valuable opportunities to obtain career ladder jobs not presently available.”

“It will be near a recognized Opportunity Zone and several neighborhoods, where many families of diverse socioeconomic means live,” the letter said. “The intended location affords many the opportunity to travel to work using public transportation or other environmentally friendly options.”

Currently, Charlottesville Area Transit Route 2 runs from downtown down 5th Street, through Fifth Street Station shopping center, up Avon Street Extended — where there is a park and ride — and back to the transit center downtown.

“That line will heretofore be known as the magic bus,” EDA member David Shreve joked.

Albemarle officials are one of a few central Virginia bodies to vote on letters of support for medical cannabis facilities in their localities. According to The News & Advance, an unnamed company has also applied for the permit in Nelson County.

The Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday are scheduled to vote on a letter of support for YAE Wellness LLC for the HSA I permit. If selected, the company plans to build a 100,000 square-foot building on property behind the Fork Union Volunteer Fire Department and Fluvanna Community Center.

In Warren County, another company, Parallel Virginia LLC, is applying for the permit, according to The Northern Virginia Daily.

According to the state RFA, applications are due Friday. The director of communication for the Virginia Department of Health Professions said the state next week will release the number of complete applications received.

Applications are exempt from disclosure under the state code, and the identities of the applicants will not be released.

The state Board of Pharmacy board is scheduled to review scoring and identify which applicant will be awarded conditional approval, and is scheduled to finalize the conditional approval at the end of March.


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