BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It's a first for Baton Rouge: a boutique health store dedicated to cannabis products that are not marijuana.
As Hunter Poiencot stocks his shelves for the first time, he says he's excited to bring Aurora 225 to the Capital City. The store features products made with CBD (cannabidiol), a natural compound found in the hemp plant. It's in the same family as marijuana, but with one big difference.
"Usually whenever I tell anyone anything about CBD, I start off with, 'It doesn't get you high,'" Poiencot explained. "THC is what gets you high, CBD is a non-psychoactive component, and so it's really good for a lot of medicinal ailments."
From oils you drop under your tongue, to hard candies, shampoos, even dog treats, the products are marketed to many conditions, including anxiety, depression, loss of appetite, and joint pain. One brand, called Charlotte's Web, was made famous for treating epileptic seizures in children.
Poiencot found success with his family's first Aurora location in Houma. Now, he wants to expand across the state. His store at Highland and Airline opens for the first time on Monday, August 13. Poiencot calls it a welcoming place where people can get educated on the benefits of CBD.
"We want to break down the stigma," he said. "CBD is normally sold in head shops, and that's how it's been all this time. We're a health boutique."
Natalie Ourso also swears by CBD. The Army veteran says she was able to stop taking opioids thanks to the products she now sells. Her brand of CBD products, called Mountain Pure, is based out of Baton Rouge.
On Friday, Ourso spoke to a group called Women Grow Louisiana. The local chapter of the national Women Grow organization encourages women and minorities to get involved in the growing marijuana and CBD industries. "Anything in your skill set you can transfer into this industry, because it's wide open. This is a new territory," said Jessica Potts, Women Grow Louisiana market leader.
As the first marijuana pharmacies get ready to open in Louisiana, Potts started her own company, called Bonne Sante, to connect patients with doctors. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 21, Potts says her passion to educate also comes from personal experience with marijuana and CBD. "I think that's very important for people to understand, that we are a legal state now, how to legally get medicine, because cannabis is medicine," she said.
The meeting also attracted Terrica Williams, a candidate for City Constable, who told the crowd marijuana arrests overcrowd our jails.
Whether it's politics, money, health, or pure pleasure, there's no doubt the industry is attracting more people than ever before.