Rural North Carolina Embracing CBD Products

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CBD Oil Sales Doing Well in Rural North Carolina

With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, the legalization of hemp products containing less than 0.3% became legal nationally, opening the doors for a CBD oil market that is on fire right now. While some states struggle to embrace the new provisions for hemp farmers in the 2018 Farm Bill, other states like North Carolina are embracing it.

While recreational & medicinal marijuana may be off the table for a while in North Carolina, the cannabis industry in North Carolina is seeing an economic boom nonetheless off industrial hemp, marijuana’s sister plant in the cannabis flower species that contains little to no THC.

THC Level Main Difference Between Hemp & Marijuana

THC is a chemical compound found in marijuana producing the euphoric “high” feeling described by marijuana users. CBD oil is present in both plants, with the main difference being industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC, making it almost impossible to get high off of. While THC is still illegal in the state of North Carolina, CBD is not, resulting in the spike in demand for CBD oil products made from industrial hemp plants.

All CBD oil sold in the state of North Carolina must contain less than 0.3%, similar to federal guidelines laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill. All industrial hemp growers must go through the state’s pilot program that is run by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services.

Research Pilot Program Started in 2017

While in 2015 North Carolina legislatures began laying the foundation for industrial hemp to be grown in the state and establishing a commission, the 2018 Farm Bill helped accelerate the rate of participation in the industrial hemp pilot programs. According to, 2018 industrial hemp permits were more than triple the 2017 total. 2019 should be even higher, though 1st quarter statistics were not available yet for this story.

Most state economists expected that the legalization of CBD oil at the federal level would bring a positive economic impact to North Carolina, but I don’t think anyone expected the kind of economic impact CBD oil has generated so far. Industrial hemp is not only providing economic benefits to farmers, but it has also been a big economic opportunity for retailers as well. From big box retailers to entrepreneurs, CBD oil is one of the hottest selling products in North Carolina.

It was expected that more urban areas in North Carolina, like Raleigh and Charlotte, would see the biggest economic impacts from the sale of CBD oil products, however CBD oil seems to be having a positive effect on rural economies as well. Consumers & patients everywhere in North Carolina have been more than willing to try CBD oil as an alternative treatment for common ailments usually treated with prescription drugs.

CBD Stores Popping Up in Rural Areas

In Salisbury, NC, a rural North Carolina town located about 45 minutes north of Charlotte. According to World Population View, Salisbury has a population of about 33,000 residents. The Department of Agriculture & USDA considers a rural area to be a “Central counties with one or more urbanized areas; urbanized areas (described in the next section) are densely-settled urban entities with 50,000 or more people.”

“Central counties with one or more urbanized areas; urbanized areas (described in the next section) are densely-settled urban entities with 50,000 or more people.”

USDA – Economic Research Service

CBD has mostly been sold in head shops or independently owned convenient stores in Salisbury, however even in a small town like Salisbury, you can find a good CBD specialty store with a variety of high quality products, educational materials, and good prices.

Quality is a big factor when buying from convenient stores & head shops. These places sell a lot of other products not related to CBD, and are more likely to be carrying some sub-par CBD products, because of the markup capability, rather than quality for the customer. Head shops usually provide a little more variety, but nothing like the variety of quality CBD and education material a CBD specialty store can provide.

Diverse & Curious Customer Base Fueling CBD Boom in NC

Another advantage of going to a CBD specialty store is it helps to remove the stoner/hippie stereotype associated with cannabis’ other plant, Marijuana. By being able to do this, people curious about trying CBD products for the health benefits can go in and feel as if their in a vitamin store or a local pharmacy, and be more open-minded to hearing about CBD oil. It helps open the cannabis & CBD oil market to a whole new, diverse set of customers.

Phenomwell is a CBD specialty store that just opened in Salisbury, NC. According to the owner, and judging from the time we spent in there researching the article, he is seeing a very diverse customer base crossing many demographics. In the 20-30 minutes, we were talking about CBD oil, I bet someone from every race, age group, & gender visited the store, with many leaving with some kind of CBD product to try for their ailments.

Inside PhenomWell CBD Store
State Laws & Cannabis Regulations Slowing Growth

It seems as if word of mouth has been the best form of marketing for the owners, in addition to being the only form of marketing allowable so far. While the local newspaper, The Salisbury Post, did run a business profile article of the CBD specialty store, the owners are having a hard time using methods of marketing afforded to them in their other businesses. Facebook and Google have forbidden them from paid advertisements, and even some print publications are having misgivings about running ads.

The best marketing tool for the owners of PhenomWell has been the CBD oil itself. Being users of the products themselves for knee and back pain, they can share their personal stories of success, and help educate the customers on what to really expect for CBD oil treatments. The owners have already seen many repeat customers with similar stories, and feel demand will increase as consumers become more educated on the benefits of CBD Oil.

The PhenomWell CBD Store owners have also had some issues with payments & banking. Not having a local banking source can be a hassle, however the owners have been able to find options to be able to operate within federal guidelines. With the goals of being able to provide online shopping options for their customers, the owners of PhenomWell, & CBD shops around the state of North Carolina, will have to do their research to find a payment processor willing to process CBD oil payments.

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Even without a way to open the online CBD store & permanent banking partner, PhenomWell and their owners aren’t do discouraged. They see great potential and growth in the cannabis & CBD oil industry, and expect demand and revenue to increase over time. They also feel they can differentiate themselves enough from big box retailers & convenient stores, and offer a better customer experience for the CBD user. They are also optimistic that banking & marketing laws will become more flexible as states everywhere are reworking legislation to accommodate the new laws in the 2018 Farm Bill.

CBD Oil Suppliers Popping up in North Carolina

It’s not just retail seeing a boom in the cannabis industry in North Carolina either. From traveling through North Carolina for work, we’ve seen a lot of different CBD products. Being a North Carolina based blog we also try to promote and give feedback to our home state businesses. In doing so, a North Carolina made product could get the nod of approval for purchasing in the store over another brand.

In our geographically biased buying habits, we have noticed quite a few CBD products being grown and distributed out of North Carolina. We did a CBD flower review on one of these company’s products called Franny’s Farmacy out of Asheville, NC. Also in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is the Carolina Hemp Company. Pure Relief is another CBD product we have tried that is based out of Charlotte, NC.

Economic Impact from Cannabis Industry in North Carolina

All the trends are there for a solid first quarter of sales and growth for the cannabis industry. From the number of industrial hemp farming permits & applications, to the number of businesses starting up to take advantage of this nationwide trend in CBD oil products.

While economic data has yet to come in on the economic impact of cannabis in North Carolina, North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association (NCIHA) estimates that the cannabis industry should be bringing in almost 100 million a year in revenue for North Carolina hemp farmers by 2020, so we’re looking for a number between $15-$20 million for the first quarter of 2019.

Experts are saying the biggest positive economic impact will be for farmers, who can look to make between $25,000 – $30,000 per acre, with accommodating weather and climate change factors that could affect the yield of the crop. Retailers should also see a significant increase in revenue by adding CBD products to their shelves as well.


While state and federal regulations seem to be moving at a snail pace in catching up with the CBD boom, cannabis seems to be here to stay in North Carolina. While medicinal or recreational marijuana may not be a reality for a while, the hemp-derived CBD oil boom has definitely hit rural North Carolina in a big way through the farming industry alone.

You got to be thankful for what you can get these days, but we will keep pushing for full legalization of cannabis in North Carolina and across the country. Thanks again for reading our blog, and be sure to check out our latest posts for more information on CBD.


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