VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — There’s a specific houseplant that's becoming more popular in Hampton Roads: marijuana.
Virginia became the first state in the south to legalize cannabis back in July. Smoking cannabis may be legal, but buying and selling it is another story.
Only medical facilities are allowed to sell it, and you’re not allowed to buy it unless you have a medical card. But you can grow it.
Adam Dobbins has a green thumb, growing everything from basil to exotic flowering houseplants.
It's a hobby he picked up years ago.
“I grew up growing tomatoes and gardening,” Dobbins said.
But there are a few plants that stick out among his collection: cannabis.
“You can just kind of pinch the nodule here and bend it to train it out,” Dobbins demonstrated while adjusting the leaves of his cannabis plants.
Dobbins is the CEO of Virginia Beach's Grow Depot. It’s your one-stop shop for everything you need to grow your own cannabis houseplant.
“We are selling your dirt, lights, tents, and hydroponics to grow from seeds to success," Dobbins said. “We have your soil, we have your traditional fabric pots.”
Paul Damon has grown his own cannabis since July 1, when it became legal.
“It’s the hardest houseplant I had to grow in my entire life," Damon said. "It’s an exciting new time for all my fellow Virginians.”
Damon said growing cannabis from seedling to flower is a labor of love. You need the right soil, the right fertilizer, and the correct temperature and lighting.
“It’s just like a Christmas ham. You know -- you don’t just kill the pig and cook it, you let it cure in some salt and let it develop its flavor," he said.
And Damon has a lot of flavors.
“I’ve got some Vanilla Latte which is like a premium California strain," he explained. "I have a local strain that a local breeder came up with, it’s called Orange Slurpee.”
Grow Depot will show you how to grow cannabis and keep you up to date on state laws regulating these plants.
“It’s four per household and tagged with your name and information and it’s for personal use," Dobbins said.
These are some pretty fragrant houseplants, so Dobbins said the best way to grow it, is in your own “tent” – an indoor miniature greenhouse. Grow Depot has everything you need to help your plant reach its full potential.
“The potency, the flavor, the effects," Damon said. "You don’t get that from the guy down the street that has that skunk-smelling thing in his yard.”
Both Damon and Dobbins say the stigma surrounding cannabis is fading.
“Everyone that I’ve seen in here just looks like your everyday professional businessperson," Dobbins said.
Since opening in October, he’s had a steady stream of customers. So you never know – your neighbors might even have a cannabis houseplant of their own.
“We can pave the way how this is done on the East Coast," Dobbins said. "Really see Virginia grow with this – not a pun intended.”
Grow Depot also offers consultations and plant sitting. They’ll come to your home to help you set up your plants and keep an eye on how they’re growing.
It's called "Dirt Squad." On Grow Depot's official Facebook page there is a video explaining how it works.
Dobbins said anyone is invited to stop by his store at 2404 Virginia Beach Blvd. for more information about how to grow your own cannabis plant or for assistance on growing existing plants.