SHORT PUMP, Va. -- A free marijuana seed giveaway at a CBD Store on Lauderdale Drive in western Henrico County was temporarily shut down early Thursday due to the large crowds in line for a free marijuana plant seed giveaway.
CBS 6 reported hundreds of people lined up outside the Your CBD Store - RVA in a Short Pump strip mall on the first day that growing and possessing certain amount of marijuana became legal in Virginia.
"I think the issue was that way more people showed up than we thought and it's causing some traffic issues," said store owner Jennifer Elliott.
She said people in line were blocking access to other businesses in the mall, so store employees took contact information for those in line and let them know when it was their turn to come into the store to collect their seeds.
"Our goal here is to make sure people that are able to receive access to it, it's legal. And people need it. And so we want to be able to help them get access to it," added Elliott.
As of July 1 in Virginia, along with a slew of other new laws, adults who are 21 or older can now possess up to an ounce of marijuana in public and grow up to four plants per household.
However, people cannot consume it in public and the cannot purchase or sell marijuana or the plant seeds. The latter issue is not expected to be allowed until 2024 -- so in the meantime, adults are allowed to gift the seeds or up to an ounce of cannabis to other adults in private.
Elliott's store partnered with Virginia Marijuana Justice, which she said provided 500 packets of six seeds each, to gift them to those who were eligible. When asked about the requirement that gifting occur in a private setting -- Elliott said the store was closed for the day and it was a private event.
Thursday's giveaway attracted people like James Vigeant who said that he has regularly used marijuana for the past 50 years, doing so under what he called an ill-conceived drug war.
"All they did was create laws to put drug users in prison instead of giving assistance," Vigeant said.
Others, like Jordan Brown, say that they haven't used it in decades but now plan to. He hopes that lawmakers will continue to improve the laws surrounding marijuana use to avoid disproportionate impacts on Black and brown communities.
"It's a good first step," Brown said.
"It's much needed. I'm proud of Virginia for taking this step," added Elliott.
Elliott said her store is there to help educate people about the ins and outs of the new laws and people can call the store to ask questions. She said they are also hosting an in-person/Facebook Live event about the new law.
"Our goal is to just make sure that everybody is educated on what's going on," said Elliott.
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