Ohio decision pushes ‘Ohio CBD Guy’ to leave Kenwood mall kiosk for Covington storefront
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Jason Friedman, owner of Ohio CBD Guy, speaks to a costumer inside his new location in Covington, Ky., on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. (Photo: Albert Cesare/ The Enquirer)
Jason Friedman opened his kiosk at Kenwood Towne Centre in July figuring he’d hit the retail jackpot for location, right next to the food court. For two months, sales boomed, and Friedman looked ahead to promising mall-driven holiday traffic.
Instead, Black Friday found Friedman pushed out of Ohio and into a century-old Covington storefront two blocks from the Roebling Suspension Bridge. He said he had to move because of what he sells – lotions, oils, edibles, even dog treats containing CBD, cannabidiol, a compound from the hemp plant.
“People are nervous buying CBD products at home, from Amazon,” Friedman said as a friend finished assembling a display case. “Now they’ve got a place to shop, where they can see the product for themselves and ask questions.”
In September, as it worked to open Ohio’s medical-marijuana industry, the state Board of Pharmacy ruled that CBD products can only be sold at Ohio’s 56 state-licensed dispensaries. Those stores are at least a month away from opening. Plus, entry to a dispensary will require a doctor’s recommendation.
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While law enforcement would be hard-pressed to pursue charges against a CBD retailer under the Board of Pharmacy’s regulation, Friedman said the opportunity with CBD products was too good to leave to the hope that no one in Ohio called the cops on him.
Hemp dog chew toy sits inside Ohio CBD Guy at the new location new location in Covington, Ky., on Friday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Photo: Albert Cesare/ The Enquirer)
“This is a growing market and really appeals to folks who want the benefits of marijuana without the high,” Friedman said. He advertises himself as “Ohio CBD Guy” and said he’s tried every product he sells.
CBD and medical marijuana come from plants of the same family. Medical marijuana is flowers from plants with varying concentrations of the mind-altering compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But CBD products are made from plants often referred to as industrial hemp, with less than 0.3 percent THC.
Jason Friedman, owner of Ohio CBD Guy, stands inside his new location in Covington, Ky., on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Photo: Albert Cesare/ The Enquirer)
The 2014 federal farm law allows the farming of industrial hemp and the making of CBD products. When the Board of Pharmacy issued its CBD ruling in September, local retailers said their products were legal under federal law. The board said they were the functional equivalent of medical marijuana and had to be regulated the same way.
Friedman, Cincinnati born and raised, was a medical-device sales person in the region when the CBD boom rolled into Ohio. He said Kenwood Towne Centre officials gladly leased the kiosk and did not fret over the Board of Pharmacy regulatory decision.
CBD Oil on display at Ohio CBD Guy at the new location in Covington, Ky., on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Photo: Albert Cesare/ The Enquirer)
But Friedman said he did not want to worry about the state disrupting his business, so he moved across the river. The storefront is less expensive than the kiosk, he added.
On Wednesday, he was preparing the Covington store for Black Friday. A worker put big adhesive seals with “Ohio CBD Guy” on his windows. Friedman said he had at least 60 products ready to hit the shelves. Just then, the door cracked a few inches, and a thin, athletic young man poked his head inside, a pair of boxing gloves around his neck.
“You open yet?” the young man asked eagerly.
Pushed out by Ohio regulation of CBD products, Jason Friedman moves his business from a kiosk at Kenwood Towne Centre to a storefront in Covington
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