Last updated on June 24th, 2019 at 01:52 pm
The owner of a CBD shop in Milwaukee’s Bay View neighborhood is facing pushback as she tries to expand her business to Cedarburg.
Jennifer Kawczynski, who opened Erth Dispensary late last year at 1200 E. Oklahoma Ave. in Milwaukee, had planned to operate a second location at W61 N510 Washington Ave. in Cedarburg.
Those plans came to a halt in April when the city determined CBD dispensaries are not a permitted use in its central business district. Then, the Plan Commission earlier this month did not recommend approval of Kawczynski’s request to add CBD dispensaries to the list of permitted uses for that district.
The Common Council will consider the request during a public hearing on June 10.
Kawczynski in March had submitted an application for an occupancy permit for the property, which formerly housed Glad Rags Resale Shoppe, and signed a year-long lease shortly after. By the time city officials reached out with their concerns, she had already moved her family to Cedarburg and had invested $10,000 in the space.
She had also gotten involved with local charity groups and agreed to sponsor some of the community’s summer events, she said.
Kawczynski said she has tried to educate the community “about what a great contribution our business could bring to Cedarburg.”
As a brick-and-mortar store and e-commerce site, Erth Dispensary carries cannabidiol (CBD)-infused products including oils, topical creams, edibles, cosmetics and pet products. Unlike its Bay View location, Erth Dispensary in Cedarburg would not carry smoke products, such as hemp flower, vape juice or vape pens, because Cedarburg is a family-oriented community, she said.
Kawczynski said there were also misconception from community members about the uses of CBD verses those of marijuana– hemp has been known to aid with certain medical conditions, but does not have a mood-altering affect, she said.
“It’s not that the city is opposed to the use, it’s more that it is opposed to the location of that use,” said city planner John Censky.
He said the Plan commission on Monday will consider making a recommendation to allow CBD dispensaries as a permitted use in Cedarburg’s community business district, which is just south of its central business district along South Washington Avenue.
Cedarburg’s central business district is a historic area of the city, Censky said, and therefore, heavily geared toward tourism and family activities, which is why the city prefers family-oriented business for that area.
Although a handful of existing shops in that district carry CBD products, not all products at those stores are related to CBD, so it’s not an issue with the city.
“It’s a new type of use that we haven’t encountered before so now we have to react,” Censky said.
Kawczynski said she is encouraging customers and CBD supporters to sign a petition (posted in-store and online) and attend the public hearing to support the opening of Erth Dispensary’s Cedarburg location.
If approved, the store will open as soon as possible, she said.
Locally, 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 recently proposed in the City of Delafield.
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.