By Ally Marotti Chicago Tribune
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabis compound that does not get users high. Less than two years ago, the CBD industry saw most of its sales online and at vape and smoke shops. But recently, the industry has exploded.
CBD shops are set to start popping up in malls throughout the Chicago area this spring, as the cannabis compound continues its march toward mainstream retail.
Green Growth Brands, an Ohio-based cannabis company, plans to open shops selling its CBD-infused beauty products in eight Chicago-area malls this spring, with more likely coming later this year, said CEO Peter Horvath.
The shops will be called Seventh Sense, and the products, ranging from body lotions to lip balms to bath salts, will be priced under $40.
Think Bath and Body Works, but with CBD-infused beauty products.
"The trend is very positive toward beauty and personal care, and CBD is the hottest, biggest headline in that space right now," Horvath said.
CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a cannabis compound that does not get users high. Less than two years ago, the CBD industry saw most of its sales online and at vape and smoke shops. But recently, the industry has exploded.
The U.S. market for CBD products, most often derived from hemp, another plant in the cannabis family, grew by more than 80 percent in 2018, to about $591 million a year, according to Chicago-based Brightfield Group, which does market research in cannabis-related industries.
The products gained momentum with anxiety-ridden millennials in search of a more natural solution than the Xanax of previous generations. But now the products are becoming popular across age groups, as older users look to address the aches and pains associated with aging without pharmaceuticals, and the compound becomes a common addition to foods, beauty products and more.
Of course, not everyone is sold on the products. With scant research on effectiveness or side effects, some doctors remain skeptical, and there are users who say they don't feel a thing when using CBD products. The products also aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Still, fueling industry growth is a law President Donald Trump signed in December legalizing industrial hemp farming. Brightfield estimates that could propel the industry to reach $22 billion by 2022.
Green Growth brands is planning to ride that wave. The company last week opened its first retail location in a Kentucky mall, and this week announced a partnership with mall operator Simon Property Group to open 108 Seventh Sense stores throughout the country.
"CBD-infused products are an emerging, growth category and we're constantly on the lookout for new products that resonate with our shoppers," John Rulli, president of Simon Malls, said in a statement.
Green Growth is working with other mall developers as well, Horvath said. By the end of 2019, it plans to have 300 stores across the U.S.
The eight locations planned for Illinois are set to start opening in April, Horvath said. The planned locations include: CherryVale Mall in Rockford, St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, Orland Square Mall in Orland Park, Chicago Ridge Mall in Chicago Ridge, Market Place Shopping Center in Champaign, Gurnee Mills Mall in Gurnee and Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet.
The Seventh Sense shops won't be without competition. CBD products are appearing on shelves at natural food stores, boutiques and clothing shops throughout the Chicago area. New CBD shops are opening in the suburbs, and CBD stores in the city are expanding or working to accommodate more customers.
-Lauren Zumbach contributed to this report.