WILDWOOD – The owners of Kannavis Botanicals’ three Wildwood locations paid a courtesy call to the Wildwood Board of Commissioners meeting, May 24, to tell the governing body what they are – and are not.
Ken and Dill Nelson operate stores on the boardwalk, Pacific Avenue, and New Jersey Avenue in Wildwood.
Ken Nelson is the resident chemist for Kannavis, which processes some of its products in-house.
The Nelsons said their products are derived from hemp, not marijuana, and the active ingredient is CBD, not THC.
“You won’t get high (from CBD),” Ken Nelson said. “CBD you feel from the neck down.”
The commissioners, however, questioned the way the business was being represented and the perception being developed in the community.
Mayor Pete Byron said the name “Kannavis” is very close to the term “cannabis,” which is the THC-containing product, of which the processing, sale, and distribution are regulated by the state.
“The perception is you are trying to sell cannabis,” Byron said.
Deputy Mayor Krista Fitzsimons said the hemp leaf on the Kannavis sign also suggested cannabis, which she felt bolstered the perception that Kannavis was selling marijuana.
Ken Nelson said Kannavis was regulated as a hemp dispensary and as such, was highly regulated by the state.
“No other store is as highly regulated other than cannabis stores,” he said.
He explained that hemp products are licensed from the farm through the processing, testing, and sale of their products, and they all must meet New Jersey guidelines.
Nelson again noted that the products they sell are not intended to make people high, and he was sorry to see Kannavis was being “lumped in” with boardwalk stores selling “who knows what.”
His wife and business partner, Dill Nelson, said the products are limited to 0.3% CBD, and they cannot sell anything in the store that exceeds 0.3%.
She noted she uses their products, which she said simply makes her feel relaxed.
Ken Nelson said they are able to guide customers to products, edibles, oils, and other things, which help them with issues such as anxiety, stress, or depression.
“Why Wildwood?” Commissioner Steve Mikulski said.
Ken Nelson said they live in Wildwood, that they bought a small house, and were planning to build “a normal-size house” at some point.
He said the three stores, located in a “one-square-mile town,” are doing very well. He said business was up 120% from when they started.
Fitzsimons said she knew there are people out there who want their products and services, but she was still concerned about the perception of the business, especially among parents of young children.
“I think you should change the sign; it looks like you are selling (cannabis),” she said.
Byron said the name and the sign were intentional.
“Don’t stand there and say that you are not trying to fool anyone,” Byron said.
Ken Nelson said he “loved” the name and it has been a blessing to them, adding that they are a hemp company and nothing more. He reiterated that everything they sell is tracked by the state.
Mikulski asked what the next step would be for Kannavis Botanicals, and Nelson said they were satisfied with operating three stores.
“There will be no more stores,” he said.
Contact the author, Christopher South, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.
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