Kokomo-native Brandon Pitcher has been farming industrial hemp for four years, and now, with experience in the industry, he’s opening a CBD store that will include products with hemp grown right on his farms.
But it won’t be any regular shop. At the hands of Fortune Companies, the store, dubbed Blue Circle, is modeled after a 1920s pharmacy and aims to give customers the experience of walking into an old-time pharmacy when hemp products used to be some of the items that lined the shelves.
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“Cannabis was, for many, many years, a number-one elixir for this country until they made it illegal. So when you went to a pharmacy, you would buy cannabis. That’s what you would take instead of cough syrup,” Pitcher said.
At Blue Circle, the shelves will contain a large variety of CBD products, which are derived from the hemp plant. According to Pitcher, approximately one-third to half of the items sold will be brands that he supplies hemp to. The remaining brands, he said, are ones he knows and trusts.
Customers will be able to purchase CBD lotions, sodas, oils, candy bars, ice cream sandwiches, and vapor pens. Smokable hemp, he said, is the fastest growing market in the hemp industry right now.
“People, in Europe especially, can’t get enough of it. They’re replacing their tobacco with hemp. It keeps them calm,” he said. “If someone has anxiety or they’re anxious and taking Valium or Xanax, they smoke hemp and don’t need the pills anymore because CBD is anti-anxiety.”
While there has been a lot of anecdotal evidence of the benefits of CBD in recent years, Pitcher said he doesn’t aim for his store to serve as a replacement to mainstream medicine. As such, he said he will be working with doctors and a pharmacist in the cases where people come in with conditions that may require more than a CBD product.
“If they have an issue like cirrhosis or depression, we’ll have them go talk to a real doctor instead of somebody here. We don’t want to try to be your physician, so we don’t make any claims that it cures anything. But it will make a difference in your life,” he said. “You’re seeing a lot of different positive results, and people’s quality of life, I think, just changes for the better. It doesn’t cure anything, but it does help.”
To complement the store, Blue Circle will be putting on educational events and feature speakers in different areas of the industry, such as farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, and doctors.
And, after opening Blue Circle in Kokomo, Pitcher hopes to continue opening stores across the state. He also intends to have his own brand of CBD oil within the next year or so.
As for the Kokomo store, Pitcher said he’s excited to bring some of his product to market in his hometown.
“I think it’s good for my hometown to bring something here. I’ve been working with hemp for 25 years, and it’s time to do it,” he said. “The idea is to make this a little higher-end store, normalize CBD and cannabis here for people who need it.”
Blue Circle is located at 226 E. Sycamore St. and tentatively was set to open on Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the time of the interview. Hours are 10 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To keep up to date on products and events, visit Blue Circle on Facebook at “Blue Circle Products.”