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Local business
CBD popularity grows: New store opens; infused baked goods sold

RACINE — While the marijuana debate continues across America, cannabidiol-infused products are popping up in stores around Racine County, offering consumers baked goods, oils, soda, gummies and even pet products to consumers.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in marijuana plants that some believe has healing properties that reduce anxiety, alleviate pain and help with insomnia.

Under federal law, CBD products can be legally sold if the product’s distributor is a registered hemp farmer in any state and the product contains less than 0.03 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana that gives the user a “high” feeling. Products are required to be regularly tested to ensure contents are under that threshold.

Racine County District Attorney Tricia Hanson says products may be inconsistent and says consumers should be wary.

“My advice at this time is ‘buyer beware’ because I cannot say that the products are consistent,” Hanson said. “There are also illegal products out there from states where THC is legal that may contain more than 0.03 percent THC.”

The Hempfarm

One local retailer said her customers are seeing health benefits from the CBD products offered. In February The Hempfarm, 1701 Douglas Ave., was opened by co-owners Maya Mays, a licensed hemp farmer, and Mike McGee Jr.

McGee was a former Milwaukee alderman who was found guilty of charges of making a false statement to an election official and criminal contempt in 2007 and spent seven years in prison.

McGee and Mays both grow hemp under the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program through Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. It allows farmers to grow hemp and use their crop to produce products, as long as they are properly certified through the state.

The Hempfarm sells a myriad of CBD-infused products, including baked goods, gummies, oils, soda and body products. Some of the products are made from the hemp Mays and McGee grow; others are products are made by other growers.

Mays says customers come in to treat a variety of health ailments, including fibromyalgia, PTSD, MS, depression, anxiety and other medical conditions. They return, Mays said, because the products help.

“I have been amazed by what I have learned working with hemp,” Mays said. “One of our customers was able to throw away her insulin. I never thought I would see something like that.”

The Racine location is the pair’s fifth store. Their first store opened as a kiosk inside Mayfair Mall, 2500 N. Mayfair Road, Wauwatosa last July. Mays said the original store was so successful, they’ve been able to open three more southeast Wisconsin locations, as well as an Appleton store.

“We’ve been getting a lot of great responses to it,” Mays said. “We basically open locations based on customer demand.”

Mays said she cooperates fully with state regulations and says she understands the scrutiny that comes with being one of the first CBD store owners, which includes questions by police.

“Until everyone is fully aware and knowledgeable of hemp, it just kind of comes with the territory,” Mays said.

Downtown stores

Other stores are also getting involved with the CBD trend. Divino Gelato, 245 Main St., Racine, recently took to Facebook to advertise that CBD-infused French macaroons were being sold at the store.

Manager Luke Jackson said customers enjoy the CBD-infused macaroons for the healing and calming properties that CBD offers.

“It’s kind of a niche market right now,” Jackson said. “It’s just like ginseng. It’s vitamin-like.”

Although not required to restrict the product to adults, Jackson said Divino Gelato only sells the macaroons to customers ages 18 and older.

“There’s no law on it. It’s just basically up to the seller to restrict age limits, and we feel like it’s better safe than sorry,” Jackson said. “We don’t want to anger anybody. It’s just precautionary, really.”

Other local stores are also offering CBD products, including Cosmic Corner, 335 Main St., and Lakeview Pharmacy, 516 Monument Square.

According to its website, Lakeview Pharmacy sells CBD Hemp Flower Extract Products, including softgel capsules, oils, topics and THC-free tinctures.


People dance to the music of Renee Schoening — who didn't let a serious leg injury keep her off the stage — and Fall Hazard on Saturday night at the Eagles Club during the 27th annual Thoughts for Food fundraiser. The event featured more than 40 musical groups at 14 venues around Racine. According to Dan Taivalkoski, preliminary estimates show that the event raised between $13,500 and $15,000 for the Racine County Food Bank, an organization dedicated to providing emergency food to county food pantries and related organizations. For more Thoughts for Food photos, turn to Out on the Town, Page A10.

Green Business
SC Johnson to launch 100% ocean-plastic bottles

RACINE — In April, SC Johnson plans to launch what the company says will be the first-ever container made with 100 percent recycled ocean plastic for a major home cleaning brand: Windex Vinegar Ocean Plastic.

Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson made the announcement Wednesday in Phoenix during a panel discussion at GreenBiz 2019, a conference for sustainable business. He said as many as 8 million units of Windex Vinegar Ocean Plastic will be hitting shelves at major North American retailers including Target and Walmart.

The plastic that the new Windex bottles are made from is gathered by members of local communities in locations in Mexico and Haiti that are within 30 miles of an ocean or waterways leading to the ocean. The plastic is then taken to consolidation centers and converted into flakes/pellets that are then shipped to the United States.

SCJ said the new product is the world’s first glass cleaner bottle made from 100 percent recycled ocean plastic, and it is also non-toxic and cruelty-free, meaning animals and sea life are not affected by the collection or manufacturing processes.

At GreenBiz, Johnson highlighted the ways that SCJ is trying to combat the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans, including committing to make 100 percent of its plastic packaging recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025. He said to address the crisis of plastic in the oceans, business leaders, governments and society must work together.

An SCJ spokeswoman said the company is also exploring the idea of expanding the ocean plastic containers for use with more of its products.

Plastic partnership

Johnson was joined at GreenBiz by Plastic Bank CEO David Katz. Together, they highlighted the companies’ partnership in Indonesia, where SCJ and Plastic Bank have opened eight plastic recycling collection centers to help increase recycling rates in impoverished communities while addressing the challenges of poverty. All of the centers in the country are now operational, putting the program ahead of schedule.

“With the attention this issue has gotten around the world, we’re at a tipping point,” Johnson stated. “Business has an opportunity to embrace this change and continue to drive attention to this issue.”

“With the attention this issue has gotten around the world, we’re at a tipping point. Business has an opportunity to embrace this change and continue to drive attention to this issue.” Fisk Johnson,
chairman and CEO of SC Johnson


Local impact
Mason and Delagrave monitoring the state budget process

RACINE — Now that Gov. Tony Evers has made his proposed 2019-21 biennial budget public, the Legislature will spend the next several months negotiating and debating over what should be included.

The Republican-controlled Legislature has made it clear that many of what was proposed in Evers’ budget will likely not pass. However, Evers is armed with the power of a line-item veto.

Wisconsin governors have the power to strike out words, numbers and even entire sentences from appropriations bills.

While those conversations are being had in Madison, leaders from local municipalities and counties all across the state will keep an eye on what becomes the final product.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said it is too early in the budget process to get a positive or negative feeling about the upcoming budget.

“Given the divided government in Madison, we know the budget will likely change substantially between now and its final adoption,” Delagrave said. “We will be closely monitoring the process as it moves forward in the coming months.”

Evers’ budget does have some provisions that, if passed, local municipalities could take advantage of.

The proposed budget allows for:

  • Counties and municipalities to raise tax levies by up to 2 percent, regardless of growth.
  • Increase funding for municipal aids by 2 percent starting in 2020.
  • Allow a levy limit adjustment to local governments for shared emergency dispatch centers and create a new levy limit exclusion for new or expanded transit systems that cross municipal or county boundaries.
  • Close the “dark store” loophole for property tax assessments.
  • Limit the percentage of a tax incremental financing (TIF) district’s project costs that can go to cash grants to developers to 20 percent.
  • $1.9 million increase for local road improvements.
  • 10 percent increase in general transit aids
  • $3 million increase each year for specialized transportation for seniors and those with disabilities.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason said Evers’ proposed budget “makes real improvements for the City of Racine and its residents.”

“Increases in shared revenue, more funding for public schools, transportation aid, expanded access to healthcare, and raising the minimum wage are all proposals that help us succeed as a community,” Mason said. “I have often said that the state budget is a values document. While it will take us some time to unpack everything in his proposal, it appears that the governor’s values closely align with those of the city.”

“Given the divided government in Madison, we know the budget will likely change substan-tially between now and its final adoption.” Jonathan Delagrave, Racine County executive