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'Everybody wants to grow their own' | Garden supply center preps for cannabis seed 'giveaway' in Hampton, VA

The owners of Peninsula Hydroponics expect a turnout of over one thousand, as interest grows for home marijuana cultivation in Virginia.

HAMPTON, Va. — Beyond the hustle and bustle of a regular work week, nothing compares to what April and Mike Jernigan are expecting this Saturday. 

“Last time we did this event, we had 1,000-plus people show up. Probably expecting triple that," April Jernigan laughed.

Virginia lawmakers approved the legal use and possession of marijuana for adults last year, but with a catch: the sale of marijuana will remain illegal until 2024.

Adults are allowed to cultivate cannabis plants at home, with a limit of four per household. Now the Jernigans -- who own garden supply center Peninsula Hydroponics off Mercury Boulevard -- are offering a way for people to get started.

Outside their storefront, they're hosting a cannabis seed giveaway from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. 

Since sales remain illegal in the Commonwealth, free distribution events like this are one of the only ways Virginians can legally obtain the plant.

The four cannabis plants the Jernigans have are dedicated to producing seeds for giveaway events like this.

“Always crazy," April said, describing previous giveaways. "We’ve had lines wrapped around the building down the street to the Wawa."

Monetary transactions or gift exchanges are also not allowed, based on current Virginia law. 

“For the seed part, we’re not attaching it to a sale. It’s less than one ounce," she said.

Saturday's giveaway will be the business' third cannabis seed giveaway since its legalization last year. Their last one was in October 2021.

“So many customers that want to grow it just because they can, it’s their right here in Virginia," Mike Jernigan said. 

The shop opens one hour early this Saturday to accommodate the event and will be happening from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only people at least 21 years old and with a valid ID can receive them.

Growing your own marijuana plants is allowed both indoors and outdoors, but remember, they must be kept out of public view. 

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