A business devoted to selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD), an oil processed from hemp, is set to open in Superior by the end of the month.
"All our products will be CBD-based, from waters to oils, creams to dog chews," said Craig Sutherland, marketing director for Apple House CBD and city councilor for Superior's 8th District.
CBD is a naturally occurring oil with medicinal and therapeutic effects and zero toxicity, he said.
"It does not cause a high," Sutherland said.
So long as the products contain no more than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol - commonly called "THC" - and come from hemp grown in an authorized pilot program, they're legal to sell, according to information from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Both hemp and marijuana belong to the cannabis family of plants. Due to selective breeding, hemp was bred for fiber and seed oil; marijuana was bred for its narcotic components. The Wisconsin Legislature gave the green light to farmers to grow industrial hemp last year, but CBD products have been around longer. Although they are not approved or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, they can be found in most states.
In April, Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel called on law enforcement not to take action against CBD products made from industrial hemp that is grown lawfully.
The products Apple House CBD will stock come from a vertically integrated business that grows and processes hemp in California. According to Sutherland, CBD offers health benefits for those suffering from pain, anxiety, inflammation and more.
"I use it for pain relief," said Sutherland, who has multiple sclerosis. "It helps with my energy, my whole outlook."
The storefront at 1613 Tower Ave. shares an entryway with Tower Fit, which offers Herbalife nutrition shakes and tea as well as yoga classes.
"I love the location," Sutherland said, since both shops stress health. "With Tower Fit next door, hopefully, we can help each other out."
The business, owned by Sutherland's family, is scheduled to open by the end of the month. They plan to offer informational packets to customers to help explain CBD and its uses.
There's a statewide buzz over hemp and its products. That has translated into a high volume of calls to DATCP about growing industrial hemp, according to Jennifer Heaton-Amrhein, a policy analyst with the department.
"Wisconsin was the top producer of industrial hemp prior to it becoming illegal after World War II, so farmers know it grows well here," she said.
The crop is very versatile, with potential markets in food, fiber, construction, manufacturing and medicine. Because synthetic pesticides can't be used on it, Heaton-Amrhein said, it's also a good crop for farmers seeking an organic option.
For more information on Apple House CBD, visit its Facebook page.