The future of a recreational marijuana marketplace in Virginia may still be up for debate, but Jushi Holdings is looking to expand as a high priority.

MANASSAS, Va. — A massive marijuana growing facility in Manassas is already making plans to expand as the future of legalizing a marijuana marketplace in Virginia remains up for debate.

Jushi Holdings owns the 96,000-square-foot facility plus six medical cannabis stores in Northern Virginia. Although it’s already legal to possess small amounts of marijuana for adults 21 or older, lawmakers stopped short of creating a framework that would allow retail sales.

Jushi, one of four licensees in the commonwealth, is working with other advocates and lawmakers, including Del. Paul Krizek (D-Fairfax County) to change the law.

Supporters say outside of the tax revenue, it could help curb the millions of dollars benefiting the illicit market.

“I’ve seen all the good cannabis has done – from job creation and infrastructure, to tax dollar collections and ensuring public safety,” Jushi Chief Strategy Director Trent Woloveck told WUSA9.

The company already invested $100 million in the Manassas location since it opened in December 2020. The retail store attached to the growing facility sees 300-500 patients daily. That’s about $50,000 made every day, according to Woloveck.

There are already efforts to add more “flower rooms” where the plants grow in different stages. During a tour of the site, Woloveck also showed the room where the buds are dried and cured before they’re either packaged or extracted for oil, which can be used for gummies, chocolates, or carriages.

In anticipation of what happens with the legislature, Jushi began creating designs for a new 65,000 square feet facility that would sit next door. It’s up to a $50 million investment that would increase the 100-employee workforce and generate more products.

Woloveck admits it’s risky since Gov. Glenn Youngkin would still have to sign off on the bill. Youngkin previously said, “This is an area that I really don’t have any interest in.”

“We’re dealing with an agricultural crop, so, you don’t just flip the switch on overnight,” Woloveck added. “You have to plan for the future. There’s some risk but we’ll continue to push the industry forward in the right manner. We’d pull the trigger once we have comfort that a commercial adult use program is put into place.”

With Democrats in control of both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly, it’s no surprise the two bills aimed at creating a marketplace for recreational marijuana sales are advancing. Both versions passed the Senate and House floors with bipartisan support in time for crossover this week.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax County) said a cannabis marketplace was one of the key priorities for Democrats this legislative session.

Meanwhile, different law enforcement associations worry what legalization recreational marijuana would mean for crime and efforts to improve behavioral health.

Dana Schrad of the Virginia Associations of Chiefs of Police (VACP) and other organizations penned a letter to the General Assembly.

“This letter should send a strong message to General Assembly Members that despite the conflated promise of huge tax revenues, allowing retail sales of marijuana in Virginia will cost Virginians more than it gains,” said Schrad.

“What we’re telling our youth is that this is okay and will not harm them and will not impact their future, it does,” Del. James Leftwich (R-Chesapeake) said on the House floor.

Supporters and Woloveck push back on those claims, citing there’s a lot to learn from the 24 other states that have passed a similar legislation on what works.

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