What are some best practices for cannabis businesses looking to make the switch from medical to adult-use sales in newly legal markets?
For multistate cannabis operator Jushi Holdings Inc., it all comes down to navigating each state’s political climate and retail trends while maintaining control of the supply chain through vertical integration and implementing an omnichannel approach to reach patients and consumers.
With more than two dozen medical and adult-use dispensaries nationwide, Jushi is currently evaluating opportunities to transition from medical to adult-use sales—or strengthen its adult-use presence—in several of its markets.
“There are so many different variables that you can leverage the playbook, but you also have to have a different strategy in each market,” Trent Woloveck, Jushi’s chief commercial director, tells Cannabis Business Times.
In Virginia, for example, Jushi opened its first medical cannabis dispensary in December 2020, and has seen patient growth over the past year with the passage of a medical cleanup bill during the last legislative session and the legalization of flower in the state’s medical cannabis program.
Now, the company is paying close attention to the rollout of Virginia’s adult-use cannabis program after the state passed a legalization bill last spring.
While the legislation’s cannabis possession and home-grow provisions took effect July 1, much of the bill is up for reenactment, meaning that it cannot become law unless the General Assembly approves it again during the 2022 legislative session.
Further complicating matters in Virginia is a change in gubernatorial leadership, with Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin taking office Jan. 15.
A commercial adult-use market is slated to launch Jan. 1, 2024, but Woloveck says the regulatory details are up in the air as the General Assembly considers three pieces of legislation: a medical cleanup bill, legislation that would establish an early transition pilot program to allow Virginia’s existing medical cannabis businesses to serve the adult-use market, and the reenactment bill.
“It’s imperative that we continue to push forward on all three of those pieces to ensure public safety for the people of the state of Virginia,” Woloveck says, adding that he does not foresee Youngkin rolling back legal possession or the launch of commercial adult-use sales in the state.
“Gov.-elect Youngkin has made that very clear, that he will sign whatever comes out of the House and the Senate on a bill that comes to his desk,” Woloveck says. “He’s made the comments around it needing to be reworked in the sense that there are some social equity things that don’t work for the Republicans in Virginia, along with the unionization of cannabis, as well, that doesn’t work for the Republicans. Those are two things that are on the radar that we can help re-craft and put in something that will appease both Democrats and Republicans. … I think you’re going to see very middle-of-the-road legislation come out that Gov.-elect Youngkin will hopefully be pleased with and implement that into the commonwealth.”
As Jushi’s team members await more details on what a commercial adult-use market