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One-stop CBD Store Opens in Downtown El Dorado

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After the three-year legalization of medical marijuana in Arkansas, long-time cannabis activist Michael Cary opens his CBD franchise at a prime location in downtown El Dorado.

Cary opened his first enterprise in a shopping center located at Madison Avenue and Fifth Street in 2002, naming it At Ease Licensed Massage Therapy Clinic. It was during these years when medical marijuana made an early buzz across the US.

In 1996, medical cannabis became legal in California and was followed by seven other states in 2002, advancing the popularity of medical marijuana.

How it started

Cary suffered from a form of epilepsy back in the late 90s, taking 29 pills daily as part of his drug regimen to treat aphasic seizures. He made the switch from pharmaceuticals to cannabis after reading reports that the substance is shown to treat symptoms of epilepsy.

As a Nazarene minister’s grandchild, Cary didn’t want to live life taking medication like Lorazepam and Klonazapam, especially since he was in college at that time. Cannabis had become his primary treatment until 2000.

Cary has been a cannabis advocate ever since he started his journey as a business owner. He moved to gather signatures for the legalization of medical marijuana through Arkansas for Compassionate Care Campaign in 2011. While it failed to pass that year, Cary refused to give up. He joined the Drug Policy Education Group that advocates the reform of drug policies in the state, which was also the organization that helped marijuana to be legalized eventually in 2016.

Cary now serves as the Arkansans for Cannabis Reform vice president. It is a committee made by DPEG to push two new cannabis-related initiatives the group wishes to include in the 2020 ballot. Cary said that the two initiatives would help eliminate ambiguity in cannabis laws.

The proposed initiatives

The Arkansas Marijuana Legalization Initiative, or Adult-Use Cannabis Amendment as it’s also known, targets the authorization of recreational marijuana to adults over 21 years old. It proposes procedures and rules for the regulation of marijuana cultivation and sale. Also included are guidelines for the allowable volume of cannabis in possession, and tax revenue issuance from the sale to school programs from the pre-kindergarten level and the University of Medical Sciences.

Cary believes that this initiative will ease the burden on law enforcers relating to the incarceration of marijuana cases, which uses up a lot of police funds.

The second proposal, Arkansas Marijuana Expungement Initiative, moves to allow individuals charged with a minor marijuana-related offense like possession or sale of not more than one pound of cannabis to make a petition for expungement on the record. The initiative includes measures relating to the restoration of voting rights, reduction of sentence, release from incarceration and expungement of a conviction. It also drafts the Cannabis Conviction Relief Court.

Expanding to CBD

After advocating medical marijuana for years, Cary expanded his enterprise to include several cannabidiol products that he found to help clients who suffer from pain and tension.

CBD or cannabidiol is a compound derived from cannabis but does not cause the high associated with tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The Arkansas law only allows CBD with no more than 0.3% of THC.

Cary offered topical treatments and homemade lotions incorporated with CBD at the start, which later drew waves, enabling him to open a second franchise called At Ease Essentials, which is a Mellor Park Mall kiosk. Fulfilling a need for quality CBD items is what drove Cary to establish the second At Ease. He also stated that consumers need to check for things like a Certificate of Analysis and labels when buying CBD products.

This year, Cary’s new store will serve as the El Dorado headquarters for his brand, At Ease. The storefront is located at 209 Main Street and will be a welcome addition to the other storefront on Jackson Street in Magnolia. The new store has its fulfillment center for orders made online, and as well as a showroom, laboratory, and a massage clinic using CBD products.

Cary is also eyeing to build more storefronts in Texarkana, Texas, and Ruston, Louisiana. The At Ease products will be sold to adults over 18 years old only, but minors are welcome to go inside the stores. He reckons that the El Dorado store could have been a hemp-selling establishment back in 1927 when the crop was still legal for sale until 1937.

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Health Watchdog in Finland pulls CBD Off Store Shelves

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Health Watchdog in Finland

The Finnish Food Authority has ordered shops to stop the sale of several cannabis-derived CBD or cannabidiol products. The agency cited that the products do not have the right authorization to be marketed as a foodstuff.

Cannabinoid extracts are considered novel foods in the EU, according to the Finnish Medicines Agency (FIMEA). Substances classified as such cannot be sold without a novel-food authorization. Additionally, CBD cannot be promoted using medical claims.

CBD in Finland

CBD-containing dietary supplements have been marketed across Finland in several health food stores, yet CBD oil is classified as a medicine by FIMEA. CBD or cannabis light as it is often called does not have the psychoactive component in marijuana, which is the tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

Hamppumaa (translated as Hempland), a Finnish company manufacturing hemp product, plans to file a case against the Finnish Food Authority. It cites the decision of the agency to pull out the brand’s Sana CBD products off the marketplace as the main reason.

Finnish citizens may also encounter a legal gray area when ordering cannabidiol products online. FIMEA has given caution to CBD buyers using any online platform to buy their favorites since there is still a lot to be learned about the legalities.

CBD oil is a compound derived from cannabis, which is widespread across the US and Europe as a therapeutic cure-all against stress, pain, and other medical conditions. The CBD industry is now regarded as a high-value market amounting to billions of euros.

The World Health Organization recognizes the non-addictive property of cannabidiol and its potential to be included in the treatment regimen for drug addiction.

More on CBD

While CBD has amassed a considerable following over the past few years, there is still much confusion over the substance. It is closely related to marijuana, which is the addictive substance derived from the same plant species as hemp-derived CBD, Cannabis sativa L. The main difference is that CBD oil has minimal amounts of THC, while marijuana exceeds the legal THC limits.

Despite initial hesitation, many users have found CBD products to be somewhat effective in alleviating or curing several health issues with varying degrees of severity. Some of the common alleged therapeutic benefits include reduction of pain, anxiety and stress and promotion of sleep. It is also said to work for persons who have multiple sclerosis, cancer and more.

There are few pieces of evidence and studies about CBD, but many countries all over the world, particularly the US and Europe, are set on discovering more about the compound. However, consumers are warned to be careful about their purchase, because the industry is still troubled by unclear regulations.

As of writing, the only available CBD-incorporated medication legally sold in Finland is Sativex, an oral spray to treat muscle spasms that multiple sclerosis patients manifest. Other medical applications of CBD are handled on a case-to-case basis by FIMEA.

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Unregulated Wellness Chemicals Find Acceptance from Americans

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Americans Reccommended CBD

Americans easily recommend cannabidiol or CBD, even to strangers they meet on an errand or travel. Shops have popped up here and there, selling a broad range of CBD products, from tinctures to gummies to oils and vapes. Even celebrities like Kylie Jenner has endorsed a CBD-infused product, drawing many fans to try it out as well.

CBD is lauded by users for its alleged therapeutic benefits from alleviating anxiety to curing cancer. There are also varying levels of evidence to back up the different claims.

Hitting peak popularity

According to Google Trends data, CBD has hit its peak in the US last May. The search engine giant recorded more than thrice the queries for CBD than Beyoncé.

Cannabidiol is a compound identified as a cannabinoid, which are chemicals found in hemp and marijuana plants. It was largely unknown a couple of years back, but the legalization of hemp as an industrial crop in the 2018 Farm Bill has catapulted CBD to its popularity today.

Hemp is a cousin of marijuana, the substance infamous for being addictive. Both plants are from the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L., but hemp is considered as the safer, non-psychoactive compound of the two.

Although studies regarding CBD are lacking, consumer interest hasn’t dwindled. Manufacturers have already taken the initial steps to experiment with some less popular cannabinoids like CBN or cannabinol. Salespeople find it easy to market cannabinoids since there is still little information about them.

Before CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC was the most recognized cannabinoid, mainly because it causes the high in marijuana. THC levels in cannabis-derived products draw the line between what is legal and what’s not. With hemp becoming legal to grow and process, the US now has its homegrown supply for CBD production.

Lack of official regulation

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is yet to provide detailed rules on cannabidiol, including the labeling and quality testing of the many CBD and CBD-infused products out in the market today. As of writing, CBD products are still illegal to sell as dietary supplements and as a food additive, although such product forms are widely sold domestically.

The FDA still has not provided nuanced rules, due in part to the lack of academic research on cannabis. Permission and funding to conduct cannabis studies are limited, and scientists have a hard time securing such provisions.

Ether Blessing, New York University Langone Health researcher, believes that it might take a decade to establish FDA approval of CBD as a drug. She warned that the current condition makes it difficult for consumers to know the quality and CBD content of the product they are buying.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published research in 2017 that concludes cannabinoids as a useful substance for chronic pain, nausea, and multiple sclerosis symptoms. It is one of the very few studies made on the compound.

No waiting for Americans

Despite the very little information on CBD, Americans don’t wait for formality to set in, which is why the CBD industry has flourished in a couple of years. With the cracks in the health care system, CBD products have filled the needs of the average consumer. The substance is said to be effective in alleviating several health conditions, including anxiety, nausea, pain, MS, and cancer.

However, the unique way in which cannabidiol is incorporated or sold does not necessarily mean that it is valid or if there is any CBD in the product at all. What retailers do is satisfy the consumer’s curiosity by developing novel ways to market the compound, even at the expense of the buyer.

Much like vitamins and supplements, CBD and other cannabinoids are mostly untested and unregulated, yet many Americans purchase such products. The more or less have the same reasons, such as distrust for pharmaceuticals, lack of medical care access, or curiosity about the new product.

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Coca Cola Denies Rumors Regarding CBD-infused Product Development

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Coca Cola

Coca-Cola has no plans to enter the CBD market with its products, dismissing rumors about the company selling beverages incorporated with hemp oil.

Kent Landers, Coca Cola spokesperson, said in an interview with FOX Business that the speculations are not valid. He reiterated that the beverage giant had no intention of joining the CBD craze as what they have stated several times.

The rumors have arisen after a Youtube video of a man popping open a can of Coca Cola and claiming that it is infused with cannabidiol oil, a cannabis leaf extract typically used to alleviate pain without causing a high. The video has since been deleted.

About the video

The Youtube user who made the video, “Gabor the Blind Guy”, claimed to the viewers that he got ahold of the product via his father who allegedly produced capping and bottling machines for several primary food and pharmaceutical companies.

He further stated that his father was contacted by Coca Cola Canada to develop a machine that would produce childproof caps for Coca Cola cans. The company is said to release a new line of products infused with cannabidiol extracts, which are considered as cannabis-based substances as declared by Gabor.

Coca Cola was supposedly looking into a collaboration with Aurora Cannabis, a Canada-based cannabis production company. The beverage powerhouse allegedly eyed the CBD market since it grew in demand, as reported by Bloomberg last September of 2018.

Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger, CEO and Vice-Chair of Berkshire Hathway, respectively, indicated that Coca Cola joining the marijuana industry would not be right. In an interview with FOX Business Liz Claman, the experts said that entering the CBD market will be detrimental to the wholesome image that the company has kept throughout years.

Munger stated during the Berkshire Hathway Annual Shareholders Meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska that going into the cannabis market is a massive mistake for the company. The company’s image does not align with cannabis and its related products.

James Quincey, Coca-Cola CEO, dispelled the speculation in October, declaring that the company does not plan to get into the CBD space at this stage.

More about CBD

Cannabidiol oil has gained significant popularity over the recent years because of the positive reception from users. CBD is now known as an almost magical remedy that cures or alleviates pain, sleeplessness, anxiety, and more. Users claim that CBD is useful in resolving a broad range of health conditions.

However, there is still no formal regulatory framework for CBD from the Food and Drug Administration or FDA, the regulating body that is supposed to safeguard consumers from fake and harmful products. Many advocates, cannabis groups and even members of the House have called on FDA to hasten the process of providing a clear set of guidelines for the use and sale of CBD products.

The only FDA-approved medication out in the market today is Epidiolex, a drug used as an adjunct treatment for intractable epilepsy. It means that other CBD products out in the market today cannot be advertised as medication or food supplements, which makes adds to the confusion regarding the legality of the industry and the products.

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