As the cannabis „green rush” continues to inundate the product market, one local woman is on a mission to ensure it’s done well. This week, Sarah Kerver, owner of CBD brand 1937 Apothecary, which creates custom CBD blends, opened Austin’s first cannabidiol collective, Custom Botanical Dispensary (906 E. Fifth, #105). And yes, the acronym was intentional.
„This has been a three-year journey for me in the CBD world, learning about hemp and cannabis and cannabinoids, and the whole plant in general, and it grew from there. I decided I wanted something bigger, something for Texas, to bring to this conservative state and do it right,” says Kerver. She’s all about cannabis education – for the brands, the consumers, and the lawmakers.
„Because of the saturation in the market with both good and bad actors, I wanted to create an incubator of up-and-coming brands, as well as a collective … but it’s also for the consumer to have a safe place that’s not a smoke shop atmosphere. It feels like a boutique,” says Kerver. „If it exists in the CBD realm, we want to have it, but we also want to try to follow suit with what the Department of Agriculture is trying to do. And then help [these smaller companies] be the good actors and follow the rules and laws – which obviously are still being written.”
Operating as a collective means a shared burden of Downtown retail rental space, and more consumer options – all following their law-abiding, direct farm-to-table, USA-grown, pesticide-free ethos. Currently, the dispensary features 1937 Apothecary, Hemp:20 (pet products), Mood Angel (microdosing), Wholly Hemp Co. (whole flower), Bee Delightful (honey), Cheekywell (chocolate), Texas Select (nonalcoholic beverages), and WiIlie’s Remedy. Kerver also plans to incubate a CBD beef jerky product and roll out CBG (cannabigerol) and CBN (cannabinol) items, and the dispensary boasts a one-of-a-kind, all-glass flower room („like a humidor”) to house the flowers and pre-rolls.
Not a THC user herself, Kerver champions the benefits of the whole plant: „I think for so long, everybody has been wrapped up in the psychoactive 'getting high' element of the plant that we’ve forgotten all the other good parts.
„I can’t stress this enough: There is a huge market for people who actually switch from THC smokable flower to CBD smokable flower. If it’s not there for them to have, they’re going to consume the THC smokable flower. I worked with some of the lobbyists during the writing of the [Farm] bill, and I stressed that at the Capitol. If all you have to drink is alcohol and then you introduce iced tea, people are like, 'Oh, I can drink something else and not feel messed up? I like this iced tea, let me drink this instead.'
„If THC becomes federally legal, I’ll be incubating THC. I’m not anti, totally not anti. I’m just not a consumer. Does it still have things that I think are beneficial for people? Absolutely, but that’s not what is legal here, and that’s not what this market and this space accommodate for, so I’m not focused on it. The consumer can’t have it, so I’m not going to try to give it to them. I just want them to have a product that’s good and safe and that they can enjoy legally now. So here is a whole array of products that I’ve vetted, that you can count on.”
Custom Botanical Dispensary will host a hempy happy hour every Friday at 4:20 (“because that’s what you have to do”), sponsored by local food and beverage brands. www.custombotanicaldispensary.com.