CBD shop barred from opening in Cedarburg’s central business district

Photo by Erth Dispensary

Last updated on March 2nd, 2022 at 01:13 pm

Cedarburg’s historic downtown will not become home to any CBD shops in the near future.

That’s because the city’s Common Council on Tuesday night unanimously voted against an ordinance that would have allowed CBD dispensaries to operate in its central business district selling the best CBD oil.

That decision put an end to Jennifer Kawczynski’s plans to open a CBD shop, called Erth Dispensary, along Cedarburg’s main thoroughfare.

Kawczynski had already spent $10,000 on interior improvements at the W61 N510 Washington Ave. site, which would have housed her business’ second storefront. She opened Erth Dispensary’s first location late last year in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood.

Erth Dispensary had been proposed at W61 N510 Washington Ave. in Cedarburg

Erth Dispensary carries cannabidiol (CBD)-infused products including oils, topical creams, edibles, cosmetics and pet products. CBD is one of several chemical compounds that are found in hemp plants. The substance is not psychoactive, so it does not have the same mind-altering effects associated with marijuana.

“Cedarburg definitely missed out with this situation,” Kawczynski said.

After submitting an application for an occupancy permit and signing a lease for the space in March, Kawczynski was notified in April that CBD dispensaries are not permitted in the city’s central business district. Kawczynski then put in a formal request to add CBD dispensaries to the list of permitted uses for that district.

The city’s Plan Commission earlier last month recommended denial of that request, citing concerns with the store’s proposed location in an area largely devoted to Cedarburg’s history, tourism and family-friendly activity.

The packed June 10 public hearing attracted community members who voiced words of both support and opposition to the proposal. Many supporters wore custom made t-shirts with pro-hemp or -CBD messages. Erth Dispensary was also backed by State Senator Lena Taylor, who discussed her stance during the hearing, Kawczynski said.

Cedarburg’s city planner John Censky said the Common Council’s final decision was informed by ongoing concerns about Erth Dispensary’s downtown location amidst schools, churches, tourist attractions and historic landmarks.

Council members also took issue with ensuring enforcement of laws related to hemp-based products– and cannabis-derived products that are not legal in Wisconsin.

“Some police officers were concerned that hemp flower and marijuana flower look similar, and with the legal levels of THC in vape products,” Censky said.

However, the city plans to consider allowing CBD dispensaries to operate in its community business district, which is just south of its central business district along South Washington Avenue. That item will be reviewed the the Plan Commission during its July or August meeting, Censky said.

As for the future of Erth Dispensary, Kawczynski said she will expand her business elsewhere. Plans are already in the works for another store, but she declined to disclose its exact location.

She also has yet determine how she will use her vacant leased property along Washington Ave., and if her family will remain residents of the Cedarburg area, she said.

Kawczynski called on Wisconsin’s hemp industry professionals to unite efforts and support one another.

“We have to come together as business owners, farmers, educational advocacy and as a state to reinforce the contribution, that these types of businesses could have on these communities,” she said. “The cities who don’t get on board (with CBD retailing), one way or another it’s going to be coming and hopefully they will be able to see the contribution and the difference that these types of businesses can make.”

CBD retailing and hemp growing markets have seen tremendous growth in the Milwaukee area in recent months. CBD stores Verdant opened in November in Bay View, Hemp World Cafe opened in December in Riverwest, Pure Golden Botanicals opened in February in West Allis, Seventh Sense Botanical Therapy, opened in March at Mayfair Mall, Full Spectrum Holistic Healing LLC will open a second area location this month, in Whitefish Bay, and Your CBD Store will soon open its third Milwaukee-area location in Greenfield.

A new CBD retailer, called Vapes, Juices, and CBD LLC. a specialty retail store, was proposed last month in the City of Delafield.

Urban farmer and former Growing Power leader Will Allen recently launched Will Allen’s Beyond Organic, which produces USDA-certified organic CBD oil, lotions, soaps, dog treats among other products.

Wisconsin lawmakers first approved use of CBD oil in 2013 under limited circumstances for those with seizure disorders, but allowable uses were expanded in 2017 to include certain medical conditions with a certification from a doctor. Also in 2017, Wisconsin lawmakers approved the creation of a pilot program for industrial hemp production.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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