CBD retail in Tacoma taking off as FDA looks to expand oversight. Public input sought

New CBD store in Tacoma features products for people and pets

Owner Gordon Long shows off his new True Healings CBD shop on 6th Avenue in Tacoma.
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Owner Gordon Long shows off his new True Healings CBD shop on 6th Avenue in Tacoma.

Selling CBD products can be complicated for vendors and retailers.

Gordon Long knows that all too well. Long recently opened True Healings CBD on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma.

In describing his store, which features CBD products for people and pets, he is careful not to use any “curative” language — claims of cures or offer specific medical advice in relation to the products.

Long has transitioned from being a medical cooperative cannabis grower in Washington’s pre-Initiative 502 world to a modern-day CBD retailer.

“I have to be careful not to call customers patients,” he acknowledged.

Long learned about extraction and was soon interested in solely focusing on selling CBD-infused products after trying some himself.

“It worked wonders,” he said. “I wanted to get on this side of the business ... the hemp side of the plant and still stay on the healing side for people to come and get a good product.”

Long can only speak to experience from other customers’ use of products and his own, after turning to CBD as an alternative to help with his own pain issues.

“I just really want people to know that they can come to a relaxed atmosphere, get a good education on CBD, sample my products and leave satisfied,” he told The News Tribune.

To stand out from other CBD competitors, he also allows local artists to display paintings for sale, free of charge.

When asked what people are seeking relief from, he said he sees “lots of people coming in for pain, a lot of anxiety, a lot of sleeping issues.”

Meanwhile the FDA is still figuring out regulations for CBD businesses such as Long’s and the CBD industry as a whole.

Last year’s Farm Bill passage legalized the regulated production of hemp — cannabis and cannabis derivatives containing less than 0.3 percent THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, a cannabis plant derivative, does not make you high and has become a popular additive to various products marketed as an alternative to pharmaceuticals for pain, anxiety, insomnia and other ailments.

The industry has been rapidly expanding, with products now appearing not just at CBD stores such as Long’s but at drugstores and mall kiosks. Bon Appetit offers a CBD caramel sauce recipe, “drizzled over a brownie or slice of pound cake whenever you want the chill effect.”

Long’s inventory includes tinctures, salves, balms, oils, capsules, infused honey, gummies and pet products, among other items.

FDA’s outgoing Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is wary of this expansion into mainstream retail, such as CVS Pharmacy and Walgreens.

“So you now see big box stores seeking to market CBD products for some uses where the claims seem to be potentially over the line, for the treatment of pain for example,” Gottlieb said Wednesday at a House appropriations committee hearing in Washington, D.C. The agency sent three warning letters this week to three companies over alleged unproven claims about their CBD products.

In response to all of this, a public hearing is scheduled May 31 on the FDA’s Maryland campus as the agency grapples with use and marketing of hemp-based CBD added to foods and drinks.

The hearing will focus on health and safety risks, manufacturing and product quality as well as marketing, labels and sales. Submitted written comment also will be accepted via email or postal mail. (More information: https://bit.ly/2UrtIlR)

Long, for his part, continues to educate his customers and eventually wants to sell his store’s CBD products online. He’s hosting an informational seminar with samples available, 2 p.m. April 28 at the store.

“A lot of people are not informed, and I can give them a crash course,” he said.

True Healings CBD

Address: 6409 6th Ave., Suite 14, Tacoma

Phone: 253-999-7042

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/truehealingscbd1/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/truehealings/