| Sioux Falls Argus Leader
It started with a store in Fargo in February.
Then, when South Dakota officials finally embraced hemp, Matt Yde brought a store to Sioux Falls that specialized in selling cannabidiol, a hemp-derived product known for its therapeutic properties.
Yde opened Your CBD Store in a small strip mall storefront on West 41st Street in May, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hang over the entire retail industry.
Two months later, Yde opened a third location in retail center just east of the intersection of Sycamore Avenue and 26th Street.
Even with a growing footprint and consistent sales since opening, Yde doesn’t treat Your CBD Store’s namesake product as a hot new item or talk about rapid growth.
Neither are his goal.
The plans he’s making are for the long-term.
“Our goal is to have customers that we can teach the products,” Yde said. “And then you kind of get to know and work with these customers on a regular basis.”
South Dakota’s legalization of industrial hemp in March also opened the door to CBD and a wide range of products that come with it, including tinctures, topical creams, gummies, beverages and pet supplies.
The CBD industry already had its footing because other most other states legalized it before South Dakota. But regulators on the local, state and national level are still working to keep up with a fledgling industry as it continues to grow and leverage the therapeutic aspects of the compound.
Industry takes shape in Sioux Falls
The therapeutic aspects of CBD have long been acknowledged by federal officials, with one product being approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat epilepsy.
Pre-clinical research has demonstrated potential for CBD to be effective as a therapeutic for seizures, inflammation and mental health conditions such as anxiety, according to a 2015 report from the National Institutes of Health.
CBD is one of eighty chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant and is completely separate from THC, the compound found in marijuana plants known for its drug-like qualities, according to the FDA.
Months into being legalized, CBD products are now available for purchase at common drug stores as well as Sioux Falls tobacco and vape stores. There are also a number of retailers specializing in the product, including franchises such as CBD American Shaman and two of Yde’s Your CBD Store locations.
There are also businesses that might be less expected to carry CBD that are looking to the hemp-based product as a way to innovate or expand their options for clientele.
Like pet stores. Or a spa.
Radiance Day Spa owner Sheri Roelfsema first heard about CBD and its therapeutic benefits a few years ago, as well as some of the controversy surrounding the hemp-based product.
The research she did convinced her that CBD was something she wanted to offer guests seeking relaxation or a therapeutic experience her southwestern Sioux Falls spa.
“The services that we provide here automatically are designed to de-stress and create relaxation and well-being,” Roelfsema said. “It just amplifies what we’re already doing.”
Scott Ward and his wife started offering CBD pet products at their southern Sioux Falls store shortly after the law change. That’s partly because EarthWise Pet Supply locations in other states had previously been carrying the various tinctures and treats available to cat and dog owners.
It’s been a popular product ever since, because people want the benefits of the chemical compound for their pets, Ward said.
“I think people have seen the benefit that humans have seen from CBD,” Ward said.
Roelfsema has noticed a similar level of demand.
Radiance started offering CBD treatments at the spa last week. Three people asked for it on the first day it was available.
“I hadn’t even done any advertising yet in the spa and immediately we had people wanting it right away,” Roelfsema said.
Unknowns remain with regulation
CBD and industrial hemp became legal under South Dakota state statute in March, when Gov. Kristi Noem signed House Bill 1008 into law.
However, the 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from being a Schedule I controlled substance and the U.S Food and Drug Administration had already approved a CBD-based prescription drug called Epidiolex to treat seizures.
Some retailers, such as Juniper Apothecary in downtown Sioux Falls, brought CBD to the Sioux Falls market months before lawmakers wrote it into South Dakota-specific rule books.
But regulators are still trying to keep up with a relatively young CBD industry as more companies look to take advantage of growing consumer interest, said Tim Bormann, chief of staff for the South Dakota Attorney General.
“Everyone’s trying to come up with guidance, but there are a lot of moving parts,” Bormann said.
South Dakota’s law mandates that any hemp-derived product, including CBD, have a THC level of .3 percent or less.
But as more retailers and service providers bring CBD to communities across the state, there remain at least two regulatory concerns hanging in the balance, Bormann said.
The first: South Dakota’s state health lab doesn’t yet have the ability to test for THC levels, so determining if a product meets the .3 cap means shipping it out of state. The lab is currently trying to get up to speed, Bormann said.
“They have to get the equipment; they have to get it calibrated,” he said. “They have to get the personnel trained.”
The other concern is bigger than South Dakota. There’s little oversight for labeling CBD products, so while some brands go as far to include lab analyses for their products, there’s also evidence of products being mislabeled. Federal officials and state regulators are still working on a solution, Bormann said.
“It’s also a buyer beware thing that is out there,” he said.