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CBD business coming to Duluth's Canal Park

It's the second store for the business, which opened its first location in Austin, Minnesota.

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People plant hemp at Tom Cotter's farm near Austin, Minnesota. This hemp will be used to create CBD products for Duluth's new Superior Cannabis Company, which opens in Canal Park on Monday. (Courtesy of Keely Zynda).
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A new CBD business that focuses on organic and Minnesota-grown products is coming to Canal Park in Duluth.

Opening Monday at 339 Canal Park Drive, the Superior Cannabis Co . will offer primarily Minnesota-grown hemp and cannabidiol products, also known as CBD. It's the second store for the three owners, who already operate the company's first location in Austin, Minnesota.

Owners Marty Tebay, Tom Cotter and Jeff Brinkman have all used the product, whether to relieve soreness or anxiety.

Superior Cannabis Co. is in charge of nearly its entire supply chain.

Cotter grows the organic hemp used in many of the store's products on his approximately 1,000-acre farm near Austin. He uses organic soil amendments like shrimp and fish for the more than 8 acres of hemp plants, and relies on plants to till the soil and control weeds.

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"That care for our plants, I think, carries through into the quality of our flour and our oils," Brinkman said.

The owners have always wanted a Duluth location for their budding business, Brinkman said. It's a bigger city than Austin and they believe the city's outdoor community will receive their products well.

People who hike, bike and run sometimes deal with inflammation and soreness, and CBD products may interest them, Brinkman said.

"It really ... is a quality-of-life boost," he said. "We just want to share that with really everybody we know."

The storefront will sell numerous products like tincture oil and smokeable buds, as well as some branded apparel and locally made hemp items. Nearly all of the products on the shelves will be organic and/or exclusive.

By growing their own hemp, Cotter said they have more control over price and quality.

"We're not out to get rich. We're out to help people and give service," Cotter said. "If we do a good job of that, money will come."

Eventually, they hope to venture into collaborating with a local brewery to create a CBD beer, which they've already done with Austin brewers, Brinkman said.

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"The beer has always just got this fresh, a little bit of a hemp-y flavor. And when I say hemp-y ... (I mean) it really has kind of a fresh, plant zest (taste)," Brinkman said.

The company is part of a rapidly expanding CBD market. Forbes reports the industry could top $23 billion by the mid-2020s. Health claims of CBD products — which are often sold as gummies, lotion, pills and much more — include its ability to alleviate pain, anxiety and opioid withdrawal symptoms.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Association has only approved one cannabis-derived and three cannabis-related drug products. These approved products are only available with a prescription from a licensed health care provider. The agency approved Epidiolex in 2018 to treat seizures resulting from two severe and rare forms of epilepsy , according to the FDA's website.

Although also extracted from a hemp plant, CBD is distinct from marijuana. It doesn’t have a high enough level of tetrahydrocannabinol — no more than the Food and Drug Administration-established level of 0.3% — to cause mind-altering effects.

Regulations present some challenges for the company. Most of their advertisements are banned on social media platforms so they primarily rely on word-of-mouth and signs, Brinkman said.

The COVID-19 pandemic also poses challenges to the Austin store. But with many people requesting deliveries, including many stay-at-home parents, the store is able to stay afloat, Cotter said.

The Duluth location will require all employees to wear masks, guests will be asked to wear masks and staff will regularly clean and disinfect the storefront, Brinkman said.

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