MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — A St. Louis County business owner is looking to cash-in on the legalized medical marijuana around the country.
For nearly a year, Kelly Christensen has built a lucrative business selling hemp products. Ever since she first opened Canvas Boutique and Dispensary in Maplewood, her store has been turning out a vast array of items, including CBD-infused lotions, oils and even doggy treats.
"All of our products provide all of the healing, but there's no high that comes with it," she said.
CBD — or Cannabidiol — comes from the hemp plant, a close relative to marijuana. Both plants contain Cannabinoids, but marijuana is high THC, while hemp is rich in CBD.
"Business has been awesome. We have so many repeat customers that have been getting a really great response just by helping the with pain and anxiety," Kelly said.
As her business continues to grow, Kelly has her eyes set on an even bigger money maker, medical marijuana.
"Starting something new is always scary, but we are excited," she told 5 On Your Side.
Just months before voters decided to make medical marijuana legal in Missouri, Kelly was already laying the groundwork to jump-start her business.
"I talked to the mayor a year ago to let him know that I was interested in becoming a dispensary," she said. "I feel confident that we would be awarded a license to be a medical dispensary."
The application process doesn't start until January 2019. If she's approved, her suburban store could become the hot spot for one of St. Louis' first dispensaries.
"It's healing. People really need it and they need a safe place to get it," she said.
Kelly told 5 On Your Side she firmly believes cannabis will be a big comfort to those who need it and to those who are looking to find help elsewhere.
"I think it's absolutely a godsend for the patients in Missouri who have been waiting on it," she said. "A lot of people are using medical marijuana and are able to wean themselves off of the opioids."
Stores aren't expected to start popping up until at least late 2019, but dispensaries aren't expected to start popping up until at least late 2019.
If approved by the state, Kelly said she will have to wait to see where Maplewood's council recommends marijuana facilities should be allowed to operate.
Once that happens, she plans to open a medical marijuana store in early 2020.