moorhead business news
Nancy Edmonds Hanson
Theresa Sorenson is emphatic that her new store Unwind is not focusing on stoners looking to get high.
“THC beverages and edibles are so much more than that,” she says of the choices in the coolers and cases of her bright, spacious shop in the Riverview Professional Building at 3505 Eighth St. S., one block north of Casey’s.
“They can help relieve pain. They can ease anxiety. Most of the people who’ve been coming in don’t seem to want to use them to get high or wasted – that’s a misconception,” she asserts. “You just mellow out.
“They’re certainly not all stoners.”
THC is one of more than 100 chemicals, or cannabinoids, found in varieties of hemp; another is CBD. Both have been legally sold for medical use in Minnesota since 2014. Since the Minnesota Legislature legalized the sale of products containing up to 5 mg. of hemp-derived THC to the general public last spring, retailers like Sorenson have been easing into their sale, feeling their way into the field as cities look at regulating their sale beyond the very general state law. The topic is on the Moorhead City Council’s agenda Oct. 10.
While both CBD and THC are derived from the same plant, they bind to different sites in the brain, and their effects differ. According to WebMD, THC affects the receptors that control pain, mood and other feelings. That’s why THC can make you feel euphoric and give you that so-called high. CBD doesn’t cause that high. Instead, it’s thought to work with other elements in the body linked to feelings of well-being.
The new Minnesota law only permits recreational users to buy, possess or consumer edibles that contain THC that is derived from hemp – not from marijuana. The only legal use of those refined from marijuana is by medically certified patients with qualifying medical conditions.
Sorenson introduction to the sale of THC-infused beverages came around the 4th of July, when she added the newly legalized products to her coolers at Brookdale Spirits in south Moorhead. “I was contacted about adding a brand to the liquor store,” she says. “I did – and it sold out in just days. We started getting calls every day asking when we’d have it back in stock.”
The state thwarted that plan. “On Aug. 4, the state said that the products couldn’t be sold in liquor stores anymore,” she reports. It could, however, stay on the shelves in vape stores and others already focused on CBD.
She began looking for a spot for a freestanding store. Unwind, which opened a week ago, is located in a low-key commercial building that also houses a chiropractor, a masseuse and a barber.
Manager Carly Cavett guides newcomers through the products it has introduced. In addition to a selection of chocolates and gummies – each with up to the legal maximum of 5 mg of THC – Unwind stocks a broad selection of beverages with colorful names like Cycling Frog, the brand Brookdale Spirits originally sold, along with Cann Social Tonic, High Spirits, Hi Tide, Jacked and Odyssey. Their flavors sound exotic: blackberry lavender, ginger peach, violet cherry. Most are carbonated. They’re sold by the single can or in four- or six-packs.
The majority of Unwind’s products are manufactured in Minnesota, often from plants grown, harvested and refined here. One brand she carries is based in Fargo, though their product can only be formulated and canned east of the Red River, where the process is now legal.
Sorenson is enthusiastic about the effects of Unwind’s range of infused beverages and candy, with their limited and legal THC content. She is constantly looking for new edibles, promising some surprises in weeks to come as the store’s inventory grows.
She concedes that some may seek them out to get high. “They may be looking for the same feeling they get from alcohol. But these products can also be used to ease the anxiety that comes with trying to stop or cut back drinking alcohol.
“Not everyone wants to drink liquor, but they still do want to relax and feel great after work. With these products, you won’t feel rotten the next morning.”