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CBD oil stores popping up around Indianapolis

October 4, 2018

A new state law that legalizes the sale of cannabis-derived oil is leading to a flurry of new local retail shops that specialize in such products.

In March, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill allowing for the sale of cannabidiol, also known as CBD, which is a substance derived from marijuana and hemp. CBD has little or none of the compound that produces a high in marijuana users, and proponents say the oil is therapeutic for a range of health problems. The law went into effect July 1. 

Seeing a business opportunity, local CBD retail shops are springing up around the city.

The most recent arrivals include: 

Owlslee CBD, which opened last week in the Villaggio building, a mixed-use property at 435 Virginia Ave. in Fletcher Place. The shop sells a range of oils, edibles, vape liquids, pet products, capsules, creams and lotions, all infused with CBD oil.

Owlslee’s co-owners are friends Crystal Brown and John McNeal. McNeal is a partner in the south-side restaurant Vito Provolone’s, and Brown’s background includes both retail and mortgage and commercial lending.

While business has been “a little slow” so far, Brown said, business is starting to pick up and the shop has attracted a range of customers. “We’ve had quite a few elderly people—for pain, arthritis, inflammation, stuff like that—and quite a few younger people with anxiety issues.”

CBD American Shaman Indy, which opened Sept. 25 at 912 E. Westfield Blvd. in Broad Ripple. The shop, which occupies about 1,200 square feet, is in a space that formerly housed the beauty and skin care retailer Eva Maison. This is a franchised location, and local franchisee Lauri Spina said it’s the first CBD American Shaman site in the state.

Spina, whose previous experience includes jobs at a toy store and as a gift/home décor sales rep, said she learned about American Shaman through her son, a hemp grower in Colorado. The shop sells a variety of CBD products, including water-soluble tinctures, capsules, vaping liquids, cookies and gummy candies. So far, Spina said, most of her customers have been people in their 30s and 40s seeking relief from anxiety.

“We’re really happy” with traffic so far, Spina said. “We feel it can only get better.”

Green Cross CBD, which opened Sept. 15 in a former pizza place at 7919 Southeastern Ave., just outside Wanamaker on the southeast side of Indianapolis. The shop, which occupies about 2,500 square feet, is owned by long-time friends Bobbie Young and James Garrison. The store sells CBD oils, inhalers, honey sticks, bath and beauty products and gummy candies. 

Young also owns a CBD store in Frankfort, Live Well Hemp; and she’s the founder of both The Higher Fellowship and IndyCann, Indianapolis-based not-for-profit organizations that advocate for cannabis legalization. Garrison is an ammonia refrigeration specialist at a local dairy.

Higher Life CBD Dispensary, which expects to open soon at 901 N. Pennsylvania St. The shop will take a space formerly occupied by several restaurants, most recently the American/Dominican restaurant Oso’s Republic and, previously, Panorama Grill and Urban Element. Higher Life says on its Facebook page that it expects to open in the next two weeks.

Despite the current flurry of CBD retail shop openings, retail broker Bill French of Cushman and Wakefield said his office hasn’t seen a lot of activity in this area so far. French doesn’t anticipate a huge wave of new CBD-only shops, in part because it’s such a narrowly-focused niche. “You’re going to have to sell a whole lot of CBD to be successful. If you only have that product, unilaterally, that’s pretty difficult.”

Instead, French predicts that existing retailers such as health food stores will tap into the market by adding CBD products to their existing inventory. “It could be an easy way to step into a different business.”

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