At CBD store opening in Minneapolis, Mayor Jacob Frey reaffirms support for legalizing cannabis

Consumers are embracing the cannabis extracts, despite a lack of research. 

http://www.startribune.com/

By  Miguel Otárola Star Tribune 

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, fourth from left, poses with members of the team behind Stigma, a new store selling hemp and CBD products in the North Loop. Stigma founder Josh Maslowski is to his right. PHOTO: MIGUEL OTAROLA – STAR TRIBUNE

Up the street from the Minnesota Twins home opener, a different kind of debut took place: The first storefront dedicated to hemp and CBD products in downtown Minneapolis opened.

During the opening celebration of Stigma, a new shop at 250 3rd Av. N. in the North Loop, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey expressed his support for the rapidly growing industry and renewed his push to legalize cannabis statewide.

“This is going well, this is a business that’s sticking around for the long haul and yes, indeed, we are continuing on the track toward full legalization, as well,” Frey said.

Frey has supported statewide legalization and decriminalization of cannabis throughout his time in City Hall. As a council member, he co-authored an ordinance lowering the penalties for small-scale possession of the drug from a misdemeanor to a petty misdemeanor.

Earlier this month, Republicans in the Minnesota Senate swiftly voted downa measure to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Citing public support, Frey said he hoped full legalization will happen within the next few years.

“As we legalize, we need to make sure that the benefits are seen broadly,” he said. “This can be an important industry that contributes greatly to our economy in a way that is inclusive.”

Unlike cannabis, hemp and CBD can’t get anyone high. But consumers are turning to the products for a number of health concerns, despite a lack of research into their effectiveness.

St. Louis Park resident Josh Maslowski founded Stigma in 2018 after a friend and his mother-in-law were diagnosed with cancer. While looking for natural treatments online, he came upon hemp and CBD.

“We got passionate about the idea of being able to help people in a world right now where stresses are up and disease is up and all that,” he said. “We’re looking at this as a supplement or another alternative option for people to just try to make themselves feel better.”

Stigma now sells products such as oils, creams and joints using plants grown regionally.

Maslowski acknowledged the CBD industry is not properly regulated nationwide, leading some sellers to market products with inaccurate contents. He said having a storefront allows customers to ask questions about the products and build trust with the company.

“We’re here to be transparent,” he said.

His wife, Sarah Maslowski, was skeptical of CBD at first. Now, she consumes CBD extract to relax before flying and in the mornings before her workouts.

She has since gotten several of her friends interested in the products. Her mother, Susan Graner, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, also consumes CBD as a pain reliever along with medical cannabis.

“I hope people will take a moment to learn more about it,” she said. “I like the idea, for a consumer, that it might take away a pill and it will bring health to them.”

Along with Frey, Hennepin County Sheriff Dave Hutchinson was also present at the opening.

Frey called the opening of Stigma “a big step forward for Minneapolis” in normalizing the use of cannabis products.

“You can’t ignore the real life impacts that CBD has on people, and I’m proud to say that we aren’t,” he said.


Miguel Otárola is a reporter covering Minneapolis City Hall for the Star Tribune. He previously covered Minneapolis’ western suburbs and breaking news. He also writes about immigration and music on occasion.motarola@startribune.com 612-673-4753 @motarola123

Hemp farmers, retailers pounce on market for CBD products

FROM: https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/03/29/hemp-farmers-retailers-pounce-on-cbd-markets

Nina Moini · Minneapolis · Mar 29, 2019

» LISTEN TO STORY

Applications to grow hemp in the state of Minnesota have increased steeply since the start of 2019, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Congress passed the 2018 farm bill in December, which legalized industrial hemp as a crop plant that can help produce commodities like fiber, grain or oil.

Hemp is described as a cousin of marijuana, with much lower levels of THC — the chemical that produces a high.

CBD oil is extracted from hemp and is sometimes marketed to help with problems like chronic pain and anxiety.

CBD oils and CBD massages are some of the products available at Stigma Hemp, which opened Thursday in the hip and vibrant North Loop neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Store owner Josh Maslowski acknowledges people are buying CBD products from a number of sources, but his shop offers an alternative.

“The timing of it had certainly something to do with the farm bill,” Maslowski said. “But the idea of a retail store was always something I wanted to do because I believe that in this space people have a lot of questions and they want to be able to look somebody in the eye versus just buying it online where you don’t trust exactly who’s making it.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey attended the store opening with the goal of encouraging the conversation around legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey chats with Jason Green of Growfilm.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey chats with Jason Green of Growfilm while checking out a hemp plant inside of Stigma Hemp in Minneapolis on Thursday. Growfilm is a Northfield, Minn.-based company that manufactures lighting for indoor agriculture. Evan Frost | MPR News

• Previously: Senate committee torpedoes legal marijuana bill
• Legalizing marijuana: Can Minnesota learn from other states?

“Minneapolis is a forward-thinking city, and yes, CBD is part of that forward-thinking vision,” Frey said.

The Minnesota Hemp Association reports there are at least five companies operating stores that only sell hemp and CBD products in the Twin Cities. Some spas and grocery stores also carry CBD products.

This week, Walgreens announced it will sell CBD creams, patches and sprays in nearly 1,500 stores across the country.

Whitney Place, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, said farmers are responding to the new markets made possible by legal hemp.

“It’s no longer considered a controlled substance. Therefore, our farmers can qualify for federal programs like specialty crop grants or even crop insurance,” she said.

READ FULL ARTICLE AT MPRNEWS