Hemp World Café’, a new cannabidiol (CBD) infused café and lounge, opened in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood recently at 2225 N. Humboldt Ave.
CBD is extracted from the hemp plant, therefore lacking THC which causes various psychological and physiological effects. Wisconsin lawmakers initially approved use of CBD oil in 2013 under limited circumstances for those with seizure disorders. Last year, the allowable uses were expanded to certain medical conditions with a certification from a doctor. Lawmakers later approved the creation of a pilot program for industrial hemp production. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection inspects plants grown under the program. In 2017, consumer sales of CBD products topped $350 million in the U.S., which is more than triple the amount sold in 2014.
Hemp World Cafe is operated by Samia Harris and Chris Thomas. Former Milwaukee’s alderman Michael McGee Jr. owns the business, according to a business license application. McGee also opened a pop-up hemp store “414 Hemp” at Mayfair Mall this past July. He also owns a third hemp store with Maya Mays inside a BP gas station, located at 807 W. Atkinson Ave.
McGee was an alderman from 2004-08. He was sentenced to 6 ½ years in prison in 2008 after being convicted of abusing his liquor licenses power as an alderman to extort business owners, as well as accepting bribes.
A CBD oil boutique, called Verant, opened recently in Bay View.
A recent BizTimes Milwaukee cover story examined the growing number of businesses that are finding opportunities in the cannabis market.