WINCHESTER — It won’t be legal to buy or sell marijuana in Virginia until Jan. 1, 2024, so what’s the deal with that new store at 326 S. Braddock St. that has marijuana leaves painted on the windows?
The answer: It’s a hemp store, not a pot store — at least for now.
Tiauntia Green, owner of the new Celebrity’s Hemp Dispensary that opened Monday in the downtown building that formerly housed Pine Motor Co., said she hopes to become licensed by the state as soon as legally possible so her business can become Winchester’s first recreational marijuana dispensary.
“I’m trying to get my foot in the door,” Green said on Tuesday.
In the meantime, Celebrity’s is selling products derived from legal cannabis plants that only have trace amounts of THC — the psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana that makes users feel high — but are high in another cannabinoid called CBD, which delivers medicinal benefits.
Green, who is Winchester’s first state-certified hemp producer and processor, said CBD has been proven effective in easing pain, nausea, insomnia and the symptoms of a variety of neurological and psychological conditions including ADHD, Parkinson’s disease and depression.
“It’s for a little bit of everything, basically,” she said.
Celebrity’s opened with a limited line of CBD products but plans to offer more options soon. As of Tuesday, customers could buy pre-rolled joints and “lollipops” — cannabis plant stalks with buds still attached — for smoking. In the coming days, Green said she will introduce gummies, tinctures, oils and lotions that can deliver the benefits of CBD without the need to light up.
Green grows her own hemp from four strains of cannabis plants: Goliath, Peach Goliath, Cherry Abacus and Peach Mint Kush. Every bit of hemp sold in her store is courtesy of her green thumb, and when Celebrity’s starts selling additional CBD products, she’ll be the person manufacturing those items.
“I do everything,” Green said. “I grow it, I process it, I make all the gummies and lotions and tinctures, everything.”
She said she saw the need for a hemp store in Winchester while working her other job as a long-haul trucker with the local transportation company she operates with her fiancé, Celebrity’s Transport. Hauling cargo took her to states like Colorado and California where marijuana was already legal and retail businesses that sold pot were thriving.
Green said she really liked the vibe of the dispensaries and lounges she visited and wanted to create that experience back home. Celebrity’s Hemp Dispensary is her first step toward that goal, and she expects to take the next step in August with the opening of a lounge — Green calls it a “smoke lodge” — inside the store where people can sip wine while enjoying CBD-infused products and live entertainment.
“It’s somewhere you can smoke and just be comfortable,” Green said. “No cellphones will be allowed because I’m trying to bring back [face-to-face] communication.”
The biggest planned step is still two-and-a-half years away, when Green hopes Celebrity’s can start selling THC products alongside its CBD offerings.
“I’m trying right now to get my licenses for growing and processing cannabis [with THC],” Green said.
Until then, don’t go to Celebrity’s expecting to buy weed, and don’t plan on getting high or drunk in its smoke lodge. Every employee at the business is licensed to carry firearms and committed to keeping Celebrity’s the type of place where people can unwind and socialize without any hassles.
“I want this place to be as comfortable and safe as possible,” she said.
For that reason, Green said, she and every employee at Celebrity’s will be openly carrying firearms as a not-so-subtle reminder that shenanigans and thievery will not be tolerated.
Celebrity’s Hemp Dispensary, which can only accept cash at this time, is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. The smoke lodge will follow the same hours except it will remain open until 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday. For more information, visit celebrityshempdispensary.com.