Erica's House of Wellness opened July 4.

Owners, Mitch Hoihjelle and Joel Roggenkamp have been researching, organizing, and educating their customer base on the relatively new surge of CBD and hemp products that they have on hand at their business. CBD oil is extracted from the hemp plant, a close cousin to the marijuana plant. The oil has been presented as an all-natural product with medicinal properties.

"Anything to do with hemp, we will have in our store," said Hoihjelle. The flagship product is of course, CBD oil, but the shop also has lotions, pipes, and CBD flower. Erica's House of Wellness has big plans for starting their own product lines but for now relies on off-site manufacturers. Currently they get their CBD oil from a producer in Eagan. The store does own a producing field in Deer Creek.

On Dec. 20, hemp derived products like CBD oil were removed from the federal narcotics list opening the floodgates for budding entrepreneurs to start selling the sometimes misunderstood items.

In an official statement from the FDA, the agency provided technical information regarding the recent law changes and reassuring the public of its mission to regulate new products. "Today, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 was signed into law. Among other things, this new law changes certain federal authorities relating to the production and marketing of hemp, defined as cannabis (Cannabis sativa L.), and derivatives of cannabis with extremely low (less than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis) concentrations of the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). These changes include removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, which means that it will no longer be an illegal substance under federal law." Hemp and products derived from it, have extremely low concentrations of THC, the chemical responsible for the psychological effects of marijuana. Hoihjelle stated that education is one of the most difficult aspects of starting this type of business. Before the grand opening Hoihjelle had a meeting with law enforcement and even they were having a difficult time keeping up with the new laws.

A business centered on CBD is a very new concept and has some on edge. City Administrator Janette Bower and local law enforcement did tour the Hemp shop prior to its official opening. They, like many others had not been introduced to hemp or CBD. Initially they were concerned that it was simply a pot shop, unaware of the popularity of CBD. Bower and the city were pleasantly surprised by the professionalism of the owners. They received a tour and valuable information about hemp and its uses. "He worked with us, we had huge reservations," said Bower. Those concerns dissipated with the city welcoming the new business. According to Bower, no special requirements or regulations exist for shops like Erica's House of Wellness. Some regulations exist at the state level but the city doesn't have much control over the sale of hemp, it is a business like any other.

Hoihjelle described the CBD market as a wild west of competing brands, some good, some bad. The new market of these products has many attempting to capitalize without much in the form of regulation and quality control. Hoihjelle was drawn to CBD after his own personal bouts with anxiety and depression. After acquiring some less than desirable CBD oil he set out on a research mission with his business partner to provide high quality hemp related products for those who need them. To gauge public interest and to spread awareness they gave away free samples of their products. The response was overwhelmingly positive with a large number of people calling them back after their supply ran out to request more. Erica's House of Wellness takes quality control seriously and plans to employ several techniques to ensure quality when they launch their own products. Hoihjelle showed off a QR system he plans to use so customers know exactly what goes into making their oils and other products.

"I live with a chronic illness," said Erica Roggenkamp. Roggenkamp was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago. For the last decade she has dealt with pain and complications that stem from MS. Her troubles sent her husband looking for an all-natural alternative to chemicals and drugs. He arrived at CBD. After taking CBD Roggenkamp's pain noticeably decreased. Roggenkamp also praised the oil for helping her sleep.

"I'm ecstatic, I think it's amazing," said Roggenkamp when asked about her husband's business. Erica's House of Wellness was named after her.

Joel Roggenkamp and Hoihjelle used to work together and their business partnership grew out of consistent discussion regarding CBD. They took the leap in an effort to bring these new products to the masses and to help people like his wife, Erica. "It's brand new and a lot of people don't know about it. The biggest thing is getting the knowledge out to the public," said Roggenkamp.

The store officially opened on July 4. Erica's House of Wellness is located at 221 Ash Ave NE in Wadena. Store hours will be 10-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.