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Friday January 18th 2019

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CBD Store – Is It The New Vape Store?

Is it a good time to open a CBD store or will they go the way of the vape store?

CBD stores are popping up everywhere. You can get CBD online and in person in several states, but what is CBD and can the business last longer than a vape store?

Two years ago vape stores were opening as fast as our friends at the printers could print those large vinyl banner signs. The guys that make real signs couldn’t make the signs fast enough to get the permits and install them on the building before the vape store was out of business. Will the same thing happen to CBD stores? Can’t you vape CBD?

Simply put vaping went main stream and like a good cigar shop, unless the vape shop had something special, i.e. CBD oil, it got crushed when 7-11 and every liquor store in the country started selling vape pens. When online pricing for vape pens and oils dropped 70%, the vape stores were cleaned out faster than users could say “My pen is empty”.

A CBD Store on every corner?

This year CBD stores are popping up like flies at a picnic, or Starbucks. This leads one has to ask, can CBD stores last? Are there too many already? Last week in Huntington Beach there were four stores on Google maps. This week there are signs for four new stores opening within a month. A 100% increase in 30 days? What gives. More importantly the more stores there are the higher the cost of local marketing goes, driving down profits.

While the evidence is vague, the cannabis craze is in full swing and CBD’s are the “safe and legal” way to use cannabis. Or is it? CBD users claim it will do everything from keeping my dog quiet during fireworks to curing cancer. Studies show it might have an anti-inflammatory property like turmeric or aspirin. So why the hype?

If you dig a little deeper you find that most CBD products still have some level of THC. Many in fact a high enough number to get members of the military or anyone else with a job requiring drug testing to explain themselves. THC is the core of cannabis, and found in very low quantities in hemp. Modern cannabis and hemp are very different plants in chemical composure thanks to aggressive genetic engineering designed to get more THC out of cannabis. Ok pot.

CBD’s are legal right?

The legality of CBD’s in all 50 states or lack thereof is what gives the CBD stores a slight edge in potential longevity over vape stores. Competition will be the problem. In fact when I checked Yelp for CBD oil, most of the remaining Vape stores in the area where already listing it, and so were the local dispensaries.

Unlike vape products, mainstream health and wellness stores are still a bit hesitant to carry CBD products. Technically they are still a listed narcotic and not legal by federal standards. The DEA just doesn’t have time or resources to pursue it. This gives the independent store owner a slight advantage, like a cannabis dispensary without the “stoner” stigma.

Some CBD store clerks have told me that CBD offers all the benefits of pot without the “high”. Lab tests have found some CBD products have as much as 15% THC according to an article in the Washington Post. The article also said other problems with some brands include the presence of dangerous heavy metals.

Last years farm bill in the US allowed for legal growing of Hemp, that is a strain of cannabis with less than .3% THC. That is good news for states like Kentucky where the stuff literally grows like a weed. Oddly enough guess which politicians sponsored the bill.

The Big Boys are Ready.

GNC is just one national chain already selling hemp oil without CBD or THC in it. As soon as the FDA and DEA declassifies CBD as a category one narcotic, you can bet that formula will have a step up option. When GNC sells CBD’s, that will be the beginning of the end of the CBD store. If Wal-Mart jumps in, it will be time to run.

For now a few smart vape store owners expanded into CBD’s to try and get ahead of the wave. The CBD store boom is on. The real question now is, if you get in now, can you make enough money to get out ahead of the game? Like all things in business… that depends.

Catalina, Avalon Bay

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