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.”
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.
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.