VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - It's been almost a month since Virginia legalized marijuana for adult use on July 1. Part of what’s legal now in the Commonwealth is growing up to four plants per household for personal use.
One industry is seeing green in more ways than one, cashing in on legalized cannabis.
Norfolk resident Matt French often comes to I Love Hydroponics in Virginia Beach.
“[It’s an] easy setup, and it’s low maintenance,” French told News 3.
Since July 1, products he has bought from the store has been helping grow his personal marijuana plants at home.
“I found out that was one of the best for the yields, so I just stuck with that, and it’s been successful so far,” he said.
Since then, he's seen his go-to hydroponics store only growing.
“It’s a lot busier when I come in here now,” he said.
For Brian Tromly, owner of I Love Hydroponics, the new legalization is cultivating profits.
“We exploded,” Tromly said of his business.
“I’d say we’re at least two to three times the numbers that we were doing last year,” he added. "The couple of months leading up to July 1, everybody was preparing. So, everybody was coming in grabbing their lights, tents, [and] getting everything set up for as soon as the date happened.”
“Hydroponically-grown plants are going to be a lot faster, bigger and more powerful,” he added.
Chris Mullins, an extension specialist and associate professor at Virginia State University, specializes in hydroponics.
“I have seen interest, people reaching out saying, 'What kind of hydroponics systems would I grow? How do I propagate?' Those kinds of things."
He said education on the new legalization is key.
“We want to kind of help with that and put out some information for people that would kind of spell it out,” Mullins said. “As soon as we get some clear guidance from the state and federal government, we’re probably going to be in the very near future - the extension is - going to be putting out some more information about that to help growers and help citizens in the Commonwealth.”
The same goes for Tromly, who plans on offering classes for anyone wanting to learn about hydroponic growing and the do's and don'ts for legal cannabis in the Commonwealth.
“Almost everybody coming in right now is a novice grower, so we’re having to educate them basically from the start to finish process,” Tromly said.
“Not everybody reads the bill, so a lot of people coming in, the first thing they ask is, 'How many can we grow legally?'" he added. “We want to make sure that everybody stays within the legal requirements of the law.”
State officials have posted information concerning Virginia’s recent legalization. For more information, click here.