Hemp dispensary helps customers ‘try something new’

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Eleanor Tolbert

Steel drum rhythms reminiscent of Bob Marley fill the colorful shop, tapestries of elephants and Hindu deities line its bright blue walls. On counters left and right, books about marijuana invite curious glances, provoking quite a contrast between that which lies open on a table nearby: a Bible.

Daniel Johnson, the owner of Green Love Hemp Dispensary and Wellness Center, opened the alternative medicine shop on Magnolia Avenue in April 2019. However, the store originally opened in December 1999 in the building on College Street now occupied by Hilligans sports bar. It was closed in the spring of 2001 due to personal issues Johnson faced around that time such as his mother’s death.

“I had to shut down that store 20 years ago because of times, trials and tribulations,” Johnson said. “It is in a much better location now.”

Green Love sells a variety of different products. Johnson said it offers cannabidiol, popularly known as CBD, oils, edibles, mints and vapes. Vintage gift shop objects, tapestries, glass smoking devices and religious items are also sold at the shop.

“We sell Buddhist, Hindu and Christian items, because we are all one with wellness,” Johnson said.

He said he finds hemp and CBD to be beneficial because they allow a person’s system to better “communicate.” He said hemp contains Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are good for the body’s longevity. CBD oil is similar to flax seed oil in that it is thought to reduce the chance of certain diseases like cancer or heart disease but works better, Johnson said.

So what is the difference between CBD, hemp and marijuana? According to Medical News Today, hemp and marijuana are two types of cannabis plant.

Hemp has less than 0.3% of tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC, which is the compound in cannabis that makes a person high. Therefore, it is legal. Marijuana has a higher THC content, making it illegal. CBD is another compound within cannabis which relaxes the body and can ease inflammation.

CBD and hemp are currently legal under the 2018 Farm Bill as long as their THC content remains lower than 0.3%. Before the Farm Bill, all Johnson sold was gift shop items like tapestries, pipes and other merchandise. Now, he can sell CBD and hemp.

Johnson said he sees a variety of different customers in his shop. Sometimes, people 65 years and older come in to find something for chronic pain. Other times, it’s registered nurses and doctors who want to know more about the substances. Many times, though, it is people who have health issues and have already gone the traditional route, Johnson said.

“Many people get tired of treating the symptoms and not the sources,” Johnson said. “They come in here to try something new.”

CBD and hemp can also help anxiety, depression and pain, Johnson said. For people who cannot function on mood stabilizers or antidepressants, this gives them an alternative. Johnson said these are the types of benefits that keep bringing people back.

“The stuff sells itself,” Johnson said. “I don’t advertise, and people almost always come back.”

Johnson ran for the Kentucky House of Representatives in 2018 because he felt the current administration did not represent him and others involved in the hemp industry. He is now running again in 2020. One of his platforms is to spread awareness about the benefits of cannabis and medical marijuana.

Green Love Hemp Dispensary is located on 1131 Magnolia Ave. and can be followed on Facebook and Instagram @greenlovehemp. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Features reporter Eleanor Tolbert can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @ellietolbert.