— by SIMON LEDGER —
Family Video, a Midwest movie rental chain, has a new product in store, but it’s not what you would expect. In fact, if you were to guess, chances are you would never get it right. The product itself is CBD, or cannabidiol. Over 50 stores in Michigan alone, and 250 across the country, are now selling this innovative product.
CBD comes from the cannabis plant and, according to Cool Things Chicago, has several health benefits including pain relief and reducing stress and anxiety. Further, it does not have any of the psychoactive effects on the brain usually associated with cannabis. The compound responsible for getting you high is THC.
Levi Dinkla, president of enterprise development for Highland Ventures, the parent company of Family Video, said “there are a lot of people that use CBD to relax, and guess what, that’s what a lot of people use movies for.”
Since it’s a relatively new product, there is not much scientific evidence to categorically state that CBD can be used for treating these ailments. However, the evidence that does exist shows very promising results and has led to a stark rise in popularity.
CBD produced from the hemp plant was made legal by the Farm Bill in 2018. As such, many businesses have entered the CBD industry as the demand for it increases. Outside a Family Video store in Westland, there are a few signs advertising that you can now buy CBD from the store.
Jason Yuhasz, regional director of operations for Highland Ventures, explained how “as soon as you put the sign out there, customers that are already using it — are coming in.”
As noted by Kyro, there are many different forms of CBD and the Family Video store in Westland now sells all sorts of them, from sprays and oils to gummies and lip balm. CBD-infused water and pet oil are quite new to the industry and they have them here, so if you want to try something new, this is a great place to buy it.
According to Yuhasz, the store are selling so much product that they have had to re-stock twice after originally putting the products on the shelves, although he did also say that the majority of sales aren’t made on a customer’s first visit. “They came in here to rent the Avengers; they didn’t come in here to get pain relief,” Yuhasz said. “But when they return their movie, in five days — ‘Oh. I’m going to give that a shot now.’ And that’s how most of our sales turn out.”
The idea to add CBD to Family Video stores actually came from Keith Hoogland, the owner of the company. He first caught on to the benefits of CBD after using it to treat his tendonitis. According to Dinkla, Hoogland had never experienced pain relief like this before and that he wanted to bring CBD to the people in a way they can trust.
Since Family Video stores tend to be found in smaller communities in the country, it can be a long time before new technology or trending items become available in these areas.
Dinkla said that they see their role as “being there as an educational resource for communities. This is something that really made a difference and might be able to help people.”
CBD first became available in Family Video stores back in December 2018. This was around the same time President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, making industrial hemp legal in the United States.
Family Video only sells Natural Native CBD products. This company is based in Oklahoma but they grow their industrial hemp in Colorado in partnership with Colorado State University.
At the store in Westland, a display case next to the cash register contains empty vials of CVD to prevent shoplifting. If you were looking to buy the most expensive CBD product here, the $150 vial of CBD oil would be of most interest. It would last for about a month though, so you should be getting your money’s worth.
Of course, there are cheaper products to buy here too. For example, there is a CBD-infused lip balm on offer for $3. If you needed a drink, the CBD-infused water is available for $5.
According to Dinkla, Family Video does not sell any product containing THC, meaning that there is no chance of getting high:
“We could be selling lottery; we could be selling alcohol. There’s a lot of things we could do,” Dinkla said. “We have a nice little neighborhood location in most communities that’s close to where people live. They can bike there with their families. We could do a lot of things. It doesn’t mean we want to do them.”
The executives at Family Video say that CBD is bringing customers back to the store, something that hasn’t happened for the business in a long time.
Dinkla said that customers, especially of the younger generation, are “coming in to buy CBD, and then they go, ‘I haven’t been in a video store in a long time,’ and then they set up an account. “Customers have really resonated with it.”
Family Video only sells its CBD products to customers over 18 years of age, although there is no state or federal requirement for CBD products.
In the state of Michigan, CBD products cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement. If they were, they would be considered illegal. This is because the US Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved CBD for public use, except for using it to treat a rare form of epilepsy.
While local health departments in Michigan have ordered public spaces like coffee shops and restaurants to stop selling certain CBD products like drinks, no action has been taken against retail stores by the officials.
The CBD industry will continue to grow over the coming years. As more research is conducted, the more likely CBD will rise on the FDA’s list of priorities. Don’t be surprised to see other stores like Family Video selling CBD products sooner rather than later.