GTPulse: Elk Rapids Woman Makes Cannabis Dreams Come True
The recent holidays may have had you explaining to relatives what CBD is. Whether you believe it’s a holy grail health product or 21st-century snake oil, you more than likely have an opinion about the gold-colored oil that claims to heal a host of ailments ranging from anxiety to inflammation. CBD can easily be found in health stores and even Family Videos, but because production has become so rampant, not all CBD is as beneficial as it could be. Kelly Young grew up running Village Market with her father and she’s taken those entrepreneurial skills and started making local CBD products called My CBD that is made from her own hemp farm. She describes her product as farm to table CBD and uses the business to educate people on the health benefits of the product, as well as to run a separate nonprofit that donates cannabis products to veterans living with PTSD, and cancer patients.
How does someone go from running a mom and pop shop to slinging CBD? Practice. Kelly grew up in Elk Rapids and has been helping her father run Village Market, a local grocery store since she was a kid.
“When we had snow days I had to come in and work. I used to help out with everything you could imagine, I’d try to schedule my friends in the fun departments so they’d want to come to work.”
Kelly carried the thought of making a career out of the family business in the back of her mind for most of her life. She went to Adrian College to study business and when she graduated and returned home to run Village Market with her dad, she dug her heels in.
Working in a family business is tough and when Kelly became a medical marijuana patient for cystic fibroids, her passion for what kind of business she wanted to be in shifted. She eventually moved to Grand Rapids to work as a manager at a Chase Bank. She worked her way up the chain of command, eventually ending up as a branch manager, and ultimately a regional financial educator. Despite her success at Chase, her thoughts still drifted towards the cannabis industry. A trip to Colorado solidified her interest.
“I bought this $80 CBD lotion and used it when I was having menstrual cramps and I couldn’t believe that it worked.”
Kelly tested the product on her mother too and was happily shocked when her mother found pain relief from the lotion too. She stocked the Village Market with it and it flew off the shelves, which inspired Kelly to go out on her own and start making her own CBD products.
It’s illegal to extract and make CBD oil in a home or a car, so Kelly bought a fifth wheel truck and professional extracting equipment.
“We all think of cannabis as marijuana, but it has different species of flowers. It’s all the same cannabis plant, the difference between hemp and marijuana is its cannabinoid profile. Where hemp is dominant in CBD and marijuana is dominant in THC, but they both have pieces of each other. Those other traces cannabinoids help work with your body’s endocannabinoid system for a healing effect.”
CBD is touted for its pain and anxiety-relieving benefits. You’re not going to be raiding your mom’s fridge and questioning the sound a tree makes if it falls in the woods and no one’s around, that’s THC and THC is not in CBD products. Hence, CBD is legal nationwide. Users don’t feel any psychoactive effects of the product, but there are claims that it’s been a game-changer for managing pain, insomnia and general anxiety.
Kelly is careful to preserve the delicate structure of the CBD and she now has full control over her product because she grows her own hemp, with her most popular products being tinctures, lotions and rollerballs. Because there are no purity standards yet set for dosage and potency of CBD, it can be difficult to find products that are clean and strong. Kelly is one of the people in the industry working to set product standards.
She sells a variety of CBD of local and organic products that are sold over Michigan, but one of her favorite parts of running her business is being able to help those in need. She donates to vets and cancer patients through her nonprofit Free Relief.
Kelly will wrap up the year giving educational seminars about CBD in Arizona and Florida. Her next big business move will be to teach people how to create CBD products of their own. It isn’t often that business owners want to share their trade secrets with others, let alone encourage them to make their own products, but Kelly wants the world to benefit from CBD.
“I love educating people about it, it’s really changed people’s lives and I just love being able to spread that awareness while helping people along the way.”