Several Colorado CBD companies are offering free products during the coronavirus pandemic, giving CBD oils, capsules, gels and even hand sanitizer to customers, health-care workers, people who've been laid off and others facing hard times financially.
Not that the owners of those companies are in much better shape.
Chris Bedrosian, founder of Lakewood hemp and CBD shop Flora's Mercantile & Hemp Emporium, says that she has about eighty bottles of CBD tincture that represented the profit from her latest batch. Although she can still sell products online, business has slowed significantly since her shop was forced to temporarily close under a statewide stay-at-home order from Governor Jared Polis. Even so, instead of selling her bottles of 2,000-milligram CBD tincture, she wants to donate them to people affected by the coronavirus.
"I can't just sit here and do nothing, but unfortunately, that's all I can do," Bedrosian says. "I'm not saying CBD will save them, but introducing CBD to your system is like switching the breakers on in the house, and everything starts to work better. If you can give anyone the tools to help their bodies, that's worth it."
Although not affirmed by the Food and Drug Administration and largely unregulated, CBD products taken orally have shown potential in treating daily and chronic ailments such as pain, inflammation and anxiety. Bedrosian says that anyone working in health-care businesses or at dispensaries is eligible for the handouts, and she's open to hearing other legitimate requests, too. (If you think you fit the Flora's criteria, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a photo of your work identification badge or a current — and blacked-out — paycheck, as well as your phone number, e-mail address and shipping information.)
"If someone asks me for it, and they need it and work in some version of health care, I'll send them a bottle. If you're out there on the front lines, I will send you a bottle," she explains. "When I can afford to buy more ingredients, I'll offer some more."
While Flora's is offering free products for at-risk and critical employees, other brands are looking out for the unemployed or laid off. NewLeaf Brands, a Denver-based CBD company, has decided to give a free sample valued at about $50 to anyone who's out of work or at-risk because of the coronavirus impact. According to chief marketing officer Ben Martch, a sample pack includes each of the following: a CBD vape pen, CBD-infused tea and CBD capsules, as well as a CBD-infused dog treat for pet owners.
"A lot of my close friends and associates are out of work. A pen or tea before bed or first thing in the morning, that can help," he says. "I've worked in clubs and bars for a long time, and I've managed some artists. I have a lot of friends who are going through it."
A former music promoter, Martch notes that bartending, waiting tables and other service jobs are common ways for musicians, comedians and artists to supplement their incomes. "When they're not touring or doing shows, they work at bars and restaurants," he points out. But not these days.
To sign up for a sample, head to the NewLeaf signup form, and answer some basic questions about your shipping address and current employment situation; Martch says that critical workers are eligible, too, as are those who are still working but losing wages. While the promotion is aimed toward local residents, Martch is open to sending packets outside Colorado for a select number of applicants before he has to start charging for shipping.
Other Colorado CBD brands have started other programs. Good Vibe Mafia is giving away free bottles of CBD-infused hand sanitizer with the purchase of any regular CBD product online. Denver-based hemp supplement company Entourage Hemp held a drive-thru giveaway on March 28, handing out CBD soft gels at a dance-hall parking lot in Wheat Ridge.
It's not the same as free turkeys from Al Capone before Thanksgiving, but Martch believes it's a sign of a growing community, and a unique one at that.
"It has a Denver-strong sort of thing about it," he says.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.