In late July, Prime Minister Mike DeWine signed a bill allowing Ohioans to grow hemp and sell CBD products derived from it.
The decision came nearly one year after hemp cultivation became legal at the federal level. In the midst of nonconformities, hemp companies and CBD (Cannabidiol) faced the threat of state law.
One of these companies was Premium Hemp Co., a specialty CBD and hemp store that opened in Willoughby in 2017. Co-owner Kathleen Gill said she had read that CBD sales were illegal and called the company's partner and neighbor next door, co-owner Mark Nieman.
"That's when we had to start fighting for our business," Gill said.
Nieman added that Premium Hemp Co., which opened in June 201
They stated that their second store in Chardon, a division of Premium Vapors (their original store), was ordered by Geauga County to stop the sale of CBD and hemp products in the fall of 2018.
"In the meantime, we have remained positive , "said Gill. "Our staff was huge and we still worked with everyone and felt safe because we had known that people love the products. The products spoke for themselves. It was like a shining star for us – CBD."
a lawyer in February to help fight state law. Gill said that Premium Hemp Co. sent many letters to state legislatures and committees.
"We got a response back saying, & # 39; we are working on it & # 39 ;," Gill added. "So then we had a little bug in our ear that said last June, it should turn around and it should be legal again. And we were really, really happy."
in July and was signed by the Governor. Nieman said that all the products in the Chardon store were then shelved again.
"That's why we said: & # 39; hemp, hemp, hurray – CBD is here to stay & # 39 ;," Gill said with a laugh.
Gill and Nieman established Premium Vapors in 2014. As neighbors, they said they often have meetings in their backyards or homes.
"Communication is everything in this business," Gill said. "We have a lot of small products … we have to stay on track."
During the first year of Premium Vapors, Gill said that the company was contacted by a woman who asked about CBD oil. At that time, Gill and Nieman were unaware of what it was.
"We immediately got to the computer and looked up to see what (CBD) was," Gill said. "That was before anyone really knew what was coming down the pike."
The two owners then began researching CBD oil for the next few years.
In 2016, Gill CBD tried on a steam show and said it helped relieve the pain she had in her foot. As a result, she and Nieman began carrying the company's oils in the store.
Premium Hemp Co. now offers a variety of hemp and CBD products, including vape oil, edible, capsules and raw, hemp flower.  Gill said that Premium Hemp Co. is a specialized business, which means they focus exclusively on CBD and hemp products. The products are often used for a variety of health reasons, especially pain, inflammation and stress.
Gill said that each of the company's employees undergoes training on CBD and hemp products.
"What stands out is we actually have a training program," she said, adding that the company has seven employees in addition to her and Nieman. "Everyone is trained before they can start selling hemp products. And we go over it and we go over the brands and what's in them. So everyone feels safe on the floor."
Many of the products sold are from Kentucky suppliers. Gill and Nieman said they made this choice based on the familiarity, proximity and fertile land Kentucky has for hemp cultivation.
Nieman noted that he and Gill are not doctors, but customers with a wide range of health problems have come to seek CBD and hemp products for relief.
"We can help them (their plagues)," he said. "It's just an emotional business. You can go to bed at night knowing that you're helping people."
Looking back at the changes in state and federal law regarding CBD and hemp, Gill said it has been a positive thing.
"It's been an evolution," she said. "It has all been kind of positive, except when we thought it would be taken away. But people fought for it, you know. People fought for it."