Cannabis itself may not be legal in North Carolina, but there are a number of hemp-centric businesses taking root and sprouting up. Many of these enterprises are banking on the shift in the national discussion significantly changing how we think about products derived from hemp and marijuana.
Nevin Anuran runs Hemporia, a Winston-Salem business that specializes in THC-free hemp-related products. And he’s anticipating a wave of innovations and consumer interest in products made from hemp. Anuran, who came to the CBD field through his work in the electronic cigarette industry, has contracted with three North Carolina farmers to grow and harvest 300 acres of hemp. His businesses will see the plant from field, to extraction lab, to hemp-infused products available to customers.
Hemporia, which opened in the summer, is a retail store located on Stratford Road with a focus on education, and Anuran stresses that the space doesn’t look or feel like a “head shop store.” Customers can buy soap, bath balms, cosmetics, edibles, topical creams, hard candy, capsules, CBD coffee and tea, and more. The vibe is part spa and part cafe.
In much the same way that consumers flocked to herbal supplements like St. John’s Wort, echinacea, and ginkgo biloba a few decades ago, the buying public is interested in hemp, seeking plant-based products to provide a feeling of relief.
Anuran has already scheduled private consultations with groups suffering from lupus to discuss ways that hemp and CBD products might fit their approaches to managing the condition. Anuran says that customers with ailments ranging from anxiety to chronic pain have expressed an interest in his products. Because there’s no THC in any of the products at Hemporia, there are no psychoactive effects, or “high,” experienced. Anuran says that a big part of his work is to educate consumers.
“The moment they feel relief from a CBD product, they have a better understanding,” he says.
But beyond that retail market, Anuran sees huge business potential in infrastructure to produce hemp and extract the valuable and popular CBD oils from the plant. He sees the sector as a major source of tax revenue for underfunded state budgets around the country.
Now, it’s just a matter of when.