Michael Lanoue personally greets his customers as they come through the door. He spends much of his day consulting with beginners, people who have never tried CBD products in their lives. Over and over, he describes the creams and tinctures that line his shelves, their intended doses and effects. The new store has fresh carpet and furniture, and soothing music plays in the background, much like a spa.
“Regardless of whether someone buys it or not,” says Michael, “I want people to leave more educated.”
Michael grew up in Rhode Island and spent 12 years in Louisiana. “I still have a Southern heart,” he says. Most of his career has been as a direct sales consultant. But everything changed about a year ago, when his wife Eva suffered a freak car accident. In its wake, Eva struggled with pain, anxiety, and arduous injections in her back. Traditional medicine didn’t resolve the issues – but CBD products did. After only a few months of salves and oils, Eva’s symptoms subsided.
The CBD industry has flowered across the country, and businesses like The CBD Store have popped up across Rhode Island. Contrary to popular belief, CBD has no psychotropic effects; cannabidiol is related to recreational marijuana, but its effects are strictly therapeutic.
“It’s a botanical medicine,” says Michael. “Customers are using it for a wide range of issues. The change in people’s lives has been the best part of the adventure.”
Michael’s demeanor is serious and driven; he recognizes that CBD is unregulated and rigorously vets his suppliers, selling only pharmaceutical-grade products. As he explains the different options, Michael speaks with urgent authority – and customers listen. Meanwhile, business is going very well; Michael recently donated $800 to VFW Post 183, and he plans to become heavily involved in the Warwick community. There are already plans to open a second CBD Store in Newport.
Given the long history of cannabis prohibition, CBD proponents have weathered some suspicion. But no one would mistake the intent of The CBD Store, and Michael says his neighbors on Post Road have welcomed the new business with open arms.
“There’s always skepticism in every new industry,” he says. “But for me, that’s died down.”