The owner of the first standalone hemp or cannabidiol (CBD) oil store in Wilkes County says the business is “here to get people healthy, not high.”
Mark Bobbitt opened a franchise of Your CBD Store on Jan. 15 at 104 West Main Street, which is the old Lenderman Shoe Shop and most recently the location of Scrub Envy. Its grand opening is Tuesday.
Your CBD Store, with alternative health store franchises nationwide, advertises that it is “moving plant medicine into the 21st century” by offering CBD oil-infused products as a cure-all for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, depression, pain management and other targeted uses.
Products with CBD oil are already sold at other stores in Wilkes.
CBD stores began popping up across the nation after President Trump signed the Farm Bill Act on Dec. 20. This removed industrial hemp from the federal government’s list of controlled substances and made it a lawful agricultural commodity.
Bobbitt, a Florida native now living in Hiddenite, has management experience in vacuum cleaner sales and owns a mattress store in Taylorsville. He said his wife runs the mattress store and he operates the CBD store in partnership with Melissa Richardson of Lansing.
The store’s building is leased from Dr. Ronald and Sue Cohn of Wilkesboro. Cohn, a chiropractor, owns Holistic Medical Clinic of the Carolinas in Wilkesboro.
Andrew Carlton, Wilkesboro director of planning and community development, said in an interview last week that the town treated the opening of Your CBD Store with standard general retail processing. He said another standalone CBD store with local ownership applied for retail permits and is planning to open off U.S. 421 in the spring.
Bobbitt said he jumped at the opportunity to open a CBD oil store in Wilkesboro when the opportunity arose, choosing that over opening a store in the Piedmont Triad.
He said he plans to open more CBD stores in the area. “We’re taking the mountains, because no one wants them—everyone else wants the big cities,” he said, adding that prospective locations include Boone, Elizabethton, Tenn., and southwest Virginia.
CBD oil is extracted from a strain of medical marijuana made from genetically engineered plants with less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which causes the psychotropic effect (“high”) from regular marijuana. Because certain products he sells have trace amounts of THC, Bobbitt warns customers who might be drug tested at work to instead use those without THC.
“I’m a believer”
Pamela Burgess Norman co-manages Your CBD Store and said CBD products have relieved her knee pain associated with bone-on-bone osteoarthritis.
“But Mark introduced me to the 1000mg cream, and now I have hardly any pain. There is some, but I rub the cream on and it takes it away. I’m down to taking one gabapentin in the morning, more out of habit than anything. To me, it’s awesome. I’m definitely a believer.”
The Wilkesboro store exclusively sells SunMed CBD oil products, including liquid tinctures (extracts), water soluble oil, gummies, soft gel caps, e-liquids for vaping, topical creams, chews, balms and even CBD-infused treats for pets.
Bobbitt said he is “into the health message that God has in that the body takes care of itself if you consume what you’re supposed to consume.”
He said he has used all the products he sells except the e-liquids, “because I can’t tell someone about it unless I’ve done it.” He says he doesn’t have any particular health issues but consumes the oil because “it’s a total wellness product.”
CBD Magnates, parent company of Your CBD Store, calls itself one of the nation’s fastest growing CBD companies and asks users to “say goodbye to pharmaceuticals and hello to CBD.” It lists 144 franchise locations in 27 states, a majority of which are in Florida. The company was founded by Rachael Quinn of Tampa, Fla.
There are other Your CBD Store franchises in Concord, Fayetteville, Mooresville, Morganton, Southern Pines and Wilmington.
Bobbitt said he signed an affiliate agreement but paid no franchise fee to CBD Magnates. “It’s my business and I do what I want,” he added.
CBD oil studied
Findings published Jan. 1 in the journal PAIN (Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain) indicate low doses of CBD provide relief from pain and anxiety. Last June in Geneva, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence released a much-cited report that declared CBD safe.
“To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD,” the WHO paper concluded.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t yet regulate CBD products and recently said it treats products with cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds like other FDA-regulated products.
The FDA said this means CBD products are subject to the same requirements as FDA-regulated products with any other substance.
The FDA also has said that it’s against federal law to label or market CBD products as food or dietary supplements, but there are no federal restrictions on who may sell legal hemp products.
A simple message
Bobbitt says his products are thoroughly tested and analyzed, and the lab reports can be accessed by scanning their QR codes.
To those who are skeptical about the benefits of CBD oil he says, “Just try it. I can stand here and tell you everything you want to hear, but there’s only one way to know for sure.”
Bobbitt said most of his customers research CBD oil before entering his store and “know it’s not a bunch of people sitting around smoking pot listening to Jimi Hendrix.”
Industrial hemp has been grown in Wilkes since the summer of 2018, first by Realtor Andy Stancil of North Wilkesboro. North Carolina began licensing experimental or pilot program hemp farming in the spring of 2017. This became possible when President Obama signed the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, ending a 40-year federal ban on growing industrial hemp.
Analysts predict CBD to be a $2.1 billion industry by 2020. CBD-infused food and drinks continue to pop up in mainstream America. The Charlotte brewpub Moo & Goo offers a burger with CBD aioli, French fries drizzled with CBD oil, and a salad finished with a CBD-laced dressing.
The grand opening of Your CBD Store on Tuesday includes a ribbon cutting, free catered food, free sample products and more. Regular store hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. The store’s number is 336-818-2020.