SPRINGFIELD TOWNSHIP – The team behind Grove City’s first cannabis pharmacy aims to educate the public while offering quality products.
“This is a really big step for this area,” said Kennerdell’s Jackie Bruestle at the opening of the Black Bear Hemp Dispensary on Saturday.
The company is located at 106 Garrett Drive, Springfield Township, off State Route 258 near the Grove City Premium Outlets in the building that previously housed Kellner’s Fireworks and a body shop.
It is run by co-founders Jesse Worsk and Carrie Lester, who, along with capital investors Darrin and Rebecca Brooks, saw a need for such a store in the area.
“They welcomed us with open arms,” said Worsk, also chief operating officer, of the community, including Independent Taco, which was giving away tacos on Saturday.
Worsk and Lester, a couple who live in Kennerdell, met while they were both working in the medical cannabis industry.
The shop offers hemp-derived cannabis items – often referred to as cannabidiol or CBD – that have been laboratory tested and come from farms in Pennsylvania.
Their suppliers make gums, tinctures, oils, ointments, bath bombs, vape cartridges, and more that are designed to help with health problems such as muscle and joint pain, anxiety, migraines, insomnia, and nausea.
There are also pet products and frozen beverages that come with a sealed shot of CBD.
And since the products aren’t medical marijuana, they don’t require a doctor-issued medical marijuana card, Worsk said.
However, there are a few things customers need to consider before purchasing: They must be at least 18 years old to enter the shop and purchase certain items.
And customers must be at least 21 years old to purchase the Delta-8 products, which are essentially “high” while also helping with pain management, Worsk said.
Customers are encouraged to ask questions to find out which products best suit their needs.
Worsk recommends that customers with certain medical conditions or people taking certain medications speak to their doctor first, although hemp products are known to have very little negative impact, he added.
Worsk and Lester use their own experience to help customers.
Lester started out in the California industry trying medical marijuana to help with migraines.
“It was a natural alternative to my tramadol,” she said of the prescription pain reliever that made her drowsy and sleepy.
She was happy with the switch because so many prescription drugs have long lists of possible side effects.
Worsk’s mom, Amy Clark, a breast cancer survivor, used CBD to help with chemotherapy side effects, and Worsk uses CBD for chronic shoulder pain.
“That still needs a lot of education,” said Worsk, an Army Reserve veteran who worked for one of the largest multi-state cannabis operators in the country.
Many people are unfamiliar with the industry or are reluctant to change, so Black Bear Hemp Dispensary wants to know that its products are safe and effective in hopes of removing the stigma often associated with CBD.
Popular web retailers sell similar products, but Worsk said people don’t really know what they’re getting while Black Bear offers personalized help.
Black Bear Hemp Dispensary will soon be adding more shopping to its website and creating take-away literature. The company is also considering joining a program to help people charged with marijuana possession clear their records.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf supports recreational marijuana, and another bill in the works could allow mom-and-pop stores to sell products like Black Bear, he said.
Worsk, a native Franklin graduate of Slippery Rock University, said they partially settled in Springfield Township because he already knew the area.
And black bears are known to stay close to their home, so choosing the business name was an easy decision.
“You really want to help. It’s cool to see it all ten times, ”said Bruestle.
Black Bear Hemp Dispensary, 106 Garret Drive, Springfield Township, is open Monday through Thursday, 10am to 8pm; 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and Sunday from 9.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 724-748-6051 or visit Black Bear Hemp Dispensary on Facebook or the website: blackbeardispensary.com