BRISTOL, Va. — With an eye toward rapidly evolving state law, the city Planning Commission on Monday voted to study potential measures to govern the location of cannabis dispensaries.
Commissioners voted unanimously to form a subcommittee to study possible amendments or restrictions that could be added to city zoning ordinances and possible definitions within zoning districts.
In 2020 the state of Virginia authorized the use of medical marijuana to be grown and dispensed by five state-licensed “pharmaceutical processors.” Part of that legislation allows for the location of five dispensing locations within each of the state’s health districts.
Additionally, the Virginia General Assembly this year voted to decriminalize marijuana possession with legislation that — if reratified again next year — would allow the commercial sale of recreational marijuana in 2024.
Dharma Pharmaceuticals was the first state-licensed processor, serving Southwest Virginia, and the company recently relocated its operations from the former Bristol Mall to a site on Watauga Road near Abingdon.
The health district includes all of far Southwest Virginia and eastward to encompass the cities of Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Danville, Lynchburg and Roanoke.
“The legislation allows five cannabis dispensing facilities per health service area,” city Planner Jay Detrick said. “Each