TAUNTON â€” Theyâ€™re selling some good stuff at 109 Weir St., but it wonâ€™t get you buzzed.
Thatâ€™s because the CBD product being sold in the small shop called Good Vibes Wellness Center contain such minute amounts, if any at all, of the marijuana-based psychoactive compound THC that thereâ€™s virtually no chance of a person becoming intoxicated.
The two owners and the manager of the new business held a grand opening Friday morning.
Among those attending were Taunton Mayor Thomas C. Hoye and Kerrie Mullen, president and CEO of Taunton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Ruth Lacouture, who hails from the town of Douglas, says sheâ€™s a partner in the business with Quincy native and Taunton resident Deborah Black.
But itâ€™s her son Rob Lacouture of Middleboro who is managing the store.
â€śIâ€™ll be here every day,â€ť said a cheerful Lacouture, 47.
A number of convenience stores in the region stock product that ostensibly contain and are infused with cannabidiol, or CBD, which is one of more than 100 different cannabinoids produced by marijuana plants.
Those plants sometimes contain more than 25 percent of the cannabinoid known as THC, the primary psychoactive compound that can cause mind-altering effects.
The cannabis-related industrial hemp plant, on the other hand, is designed to contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. It is legally grown to produce such things as clothes, rope, plastics, biofuels and textiles.
And although hemp is devoid of THC, it does contain CBD â€” which can be sold in oral-drop form; infused into edible items such as gummies, lip balm, candy and cookies; applied as a cream to the skin; or used in e-pens and vapes.
In Massachusetts, where the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana is now legal, that means stores like Good Vibes Wellness Center are operating within the bounds of state law, although federal law governing CBD use remains somewhat murky.
And while there is scientific evidence indicating that CBD has yielded positive results in treating some forms of epilepsy, there is no hard evidence that itâ€™s effective in treating pain, anxiety, psychosis or inflammation.
But those who sing the praises of CBD, which is generally considered safe for consumption, are not being dissuaded by any lack of conclusive, medical data.
Store manager Lacouture is one of those who touts CBD as a means of relieving pain.
â€śIâ€™ve got curvature of the back. I was a pipefitter for 27 years,â€ť said Lacouture, who says he ingests CBD oil twice a day.
Lacouture said it also increases his ability to focus. He said it wasnâ€™t until he was an adult that he learned he suffers from both attention deficit disorder and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Taking CBD, he said, â€śhelps big time.â€ť
Customer Colton Tweedy, 24, said CBD makes him â€śvery relaxedâ€ť but not sleepy. He said he bought $30 worth of oil and an $11 CBD candy bar from the Taunton store after it opened last week.
Good Vibes co-owner Deborah Black said she eats gummies to relieve stress and pain.
The latter, she said, dates back to when she said she grew six inches within a year of turning 12 years old.
Black said the stress is the result of physical and emotional abuse she endured from a former boyfriend, who last year received a state prison sentence of three to five years for violently assaulting and intimidating her.
She said she now has custody of the manâ€™s two young daughters, neither of who are her biological children.
Black said before her former boyfriend was sentenced, she was fired from her job as a dental assistant at the Tufts dental facility in Taunton that caters to adults and children with developmental disabilities, as result of the disruption and stress in her life.
Co-owner Ruth Lacouture, 70, said she was motivated to go into the CBD business after her husband, who was not able to receive chemotherapy as result of having lost a kidney, died in 2017 of pancreatic cancer.
She said doctors had predicted he had six months to live when he began taking a cannabis oil product known as Rick Simpson oil. Lacouture says he lived another year and a half free of pain.
â€śIt cost $50 a day, and Iâ€™d do it again,â€ť said Lacouture, who noted that Israel has become known as something of an epicenter for medical marijuana and CBD testing.
â€śTheyâ€™re really researching it,â€ť she said.
Her son Rob said that he, his mother and Black spent $50,000 renovating and buying merchandise to stock the 980-square-foot space, which had been vacant for an extended period.
The Good Vibes storefront, which has apartments on its top two floors, had years earlier at various times been a convenience store, a novelty gift shop and an urban-apparel store.
Lacouture says that he and Black are proud of the fact that their eight CBD vendors are all Bay State-based.
He said he and Black require proof that the products have been third-party certified with results posted online.
Lacouture described so-called CBD product sold at gas stations and convenience stores as â€śsnake oil.â€ť
Even before passage of a federal farm bill in 2018 designating hemp as an agricultural crop, products labeled as CBD were becoming available in local convenience stores.
One such business in 2017 received a visit from Taunton detectives warning its owner that it was illegal to sell anything labeled CBD in the city.
Product-line prices at Good Vibes range from $6 for a CBD-infused lollipop to $90 for a jar of CBD honey made by â€śholistic nurseâ€ť Kellie Roy.
Thereâ€™s also a raised section with a semi-private room where Roy gives â€ścrystal readingsâ€ť by appointment.
Black says that CBD used in her merchandise is derived both from hemp and marijuana plants.
Lacouture acknowledges that parking on the block can be challenging, which is why heâ€™ll inquire whether the city might eliminate a no-parking sign indicating a loading zone, which he says is never used for that purpose.
He credits building department commissioner and inspector Bob Pirozzi with being especially helpful and accommodating.
â€śWe could have opened in Middleboro, but they were so much friendlier in Taunton. We feel blessed to be here,â€ť Lacouture said.
He also said heâ€™s encouraged that two new businesses across the street have either moved or are moving into a small, multi-office building.
Good Vibes also also sells items on a consignment basis made by part-time artists from as far away as Tiverton and Fall River.
These include T-shirts, coffee mugs and a glossy comic-book series created by partners Jeffrey Holman and Benjamin Bartlett.
Both men say that CBD products have made a difference in their daily lives in terms of pain relief.
Bartlett said he works as a carpenter; Homan says he used to do the same.
â€śIt cut my Motrin intake by 75 percent,â€ť said Homan, who says he suffers from sciatica and has since switched to building furniture.