The first CBD café in the United States has opened in Portland, Oregon. GrönCafe opened in June and its launch was the first of its kind. The opening is a historic moment for CBD and its components in the United States.
Hemp-based products like Walmart CBD gummies have been slowly increasing in popularity across the country after being prohibited for decades and this café launch is a brilliant move forward for the industry.
There is no surprise in the fact that Portland is the first city in the United States to host this weird and wonderful café. Oregon was the first state to decriminalize cannabis in 1973, which still remains a groundbreaking moment for the hemp industry today.
GrönCafe will fit in perfectly with the rest of Portland’s weird and distinctly unique range of businesses, as they are a city known for embracing all of this kind of strange aspects in life.
We at the Ministry of Hemp had the opportunity to get an exclusive insider’s look at the GrönCafe and had the chance to speak to the founder and CEO of GrönMrs. Christine Smith.
A Visit To America’s First CBD Café
GrönCafe is an offshoot of Grön, a hemp-based business in the state of Oregon (know where to buy CBD oil for pets in Oregon). Grön is the biggest seller of edible cannabis products in this state and is well-known for their delicious THC-infused chocolate bars.
THC is the compound found in photoactive cannabis or marijuana that gives people a high upon consumption. None of the products served in GrönCafe contain this compound and instead are infused with CBD upon customer’s request.
CBD is a compound that is also extracted from the hemp plant but this one does not get people high. Instead, this compound can relieve anxiety and even some forms of pain due to its relaxing properties.
Based in Grön’s manufacturing facility in Southeast Portland, GrönCafe serves everything you’d expect from a modern café – expect everything on this menu can be infused with CBD. You can order a range of specialized coffees like you’d expect from your local café, but with the option of the added ingredient of CBD if you’d like. If you just want a normal hot beverage, then you can order it without CBD too.
As well as offering a range of coffees, GrönCafe also sells their famous CBD or THC infused chocolates for customers to try too. The trained baristas will encourage you to try a whole range of their CBD products like CBD-xrp capsules when you visit, to see what you like and what will be popular. Since this whole facility is a new concept, first-time customers to CBD itself and the café are encouraged to try as many of their products as possible.
Why Open A CBD Café?
Christine Smith, the founder of Grön and its new café, first discovered a better way to produce cannabis edibles when observing her husbands work in the hemp industry. Jasper Smith owned and operated his own medicinal marijuanadispensary at the time the couple moved to Oregan in 1999. Christine decided that there must be a better way to produce cannabis chocolates and other edibles than those available on the market. At the time, the cannabis industry was nothing special and most edibles in their field were crudely wrapped in cellophane.
At this time, there was nothing particularly inspiring about the hemp industry as cannabis had only just been legalized for medicinal purposes in Oregan.
In 2014 Christine took her history and knowledge from the medicinal cannabis industry; her expertise developed over 20 years of being an architect and her Dutch education to found Grön.
“I saw a market that had untapped potential, I saw something amazing that many people haven’t seen yet,” she said.
After seeing success with her range of cannabis-infused chocolates, Smith decided to open a CBD café in an attempt to get even more people comfortable with using CBD for it’s healing properties (like using CBD cannabis oil for migraines). The café is also a secure and unique way to introduce people into the many uses CBD can have.
Smith strongly believes that this compound is the most powerful natural substance in the world and can provide so many benefits to users. She hopes that GrönCafe will provide an easy, comfortable way for newbies to try CBD and contribute to removing the stigma surrounding hemp and its properties. Grönis also hoping to launch new lines of tasty CBD products for their café and store in the near future.
CBD, Cannabis and It’s Challenges
Despite the legalization of cannabis in Oregan and the growing acceptance of hemp nationwide, Smith admits that working in this industry can be very challenging.
Even in a progressive state like Oregan, there are still a lot of complex regulations surrounding hemp. The cannabis industry and the businesses in this field are operating in a legal gray area, with conflicting laws and opinions coming from all sides.
State and federal regulations regarding hemp are constantly changing and half of the work in a cannabis-based business is simply keeping up. Smith and her team at Grön are constantly changing and moving their policies around in order to keep up with state regulations.
The financial side if the business is one particular aspect that remains unsettled.
Despite the fact that Oreganis a very progressive state company like Grön are still being held back in many areas by federal legislation. In an attempt to combat this, the House Bill 4094 was passed in Oregan on April 4, 2016. This Bill protects financial industries who work with cannabis companies from prosecution.
Even with this bill, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done between banks and businesses due to other federal regulations. Federal legislation requires financial companies to comply with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) which is a complex set of rules.
Smith told us that her company faces copious amounts of paperwork, even for the simplest financial needs like having a credit/debit card system for payments and payroll.
These financial regulations also force Smith to have separate bank accounts for the two sides of her company. The regulations prevent some banking industries from working with specific hemp products, so Grön has to have two separate accounts for their THC products and their CBD products.
As if this system wasn’t already complicated enough, only 2 credit unions across the whole state of Oregan are willing to work with marijuana-based businesses. The THC side of the industry is much more complicated and requires way more paperwork than CBD.
It must be so difficult and exhausting for Smith to try and work with all of these regulations, but this is currently the price to pay for being a trailblazer in this industry.
All of these rules, legislation, and paperwork only apply to the financial side of the business. In order to keep her products in the market, Smith must get them regularly checked by the Oregan LiquorControl Commission (OLCC) and a range of government agencies to ensure that they are following regulation.
So You Want To Start a CBD Business?
Smith offered simpletidbits of advice for new entrepreneurs who want to go into the cannabis industry. Read more at CBD Oil Adviser.
“Pay attention to all laws and regulations,” she said. Because these are constantly changing it is vital that you keep an eye on them and ensure that your company is up to date.
Smith also recommended that new businessowners study other CBD based businesses across the world, specifically in Germany and Switzerland. The cannabis laws across Europe are typically more lenient meaning these cafes have more freedom to create their own rules.
She also urged new business owners to not lose sight of their core values.
“View CBD as a healing supplement, not simply a food ingredient,” she said. Christine believes that CBD is the most powerful natural substance in the world and she wants more people to be exposed to it. This should be the main core value for most businesses in the industry.
The Ministry of Hemp urges their readers to stop by GrönCafe for a coffee if they are in the area. If not you can support Grön via their online store.