A company that sells CBD food products, lotions, oils, pain relievers and other products extracted from hemp is seeking permission to open a store in Naperville.

David Palatnik, who owns nine CBD Kratom stores in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas and Los Angeles, said the market for such items is expanding because they are nature-based products.

“Hemp is something used for years. It is not psychoactive. It doesn’t get you high. CBD or cannabidiol is extracted from hemp. Our shops specialize in it,” Palatnik told the Naperville Liquor Commission at a recent meeting.

Mayor Steve Chirico said the liquor commission will make a recommendation on the store, proposed for Chicago Avenue and Washington Street in downtown Naperville, because the city has the authority to reject businesses that sell “restricted products,” like CBD.

“If the CBD product line is considered safe, we’d recommend it to council,” said Chirico, who heads the commission.

Commissioner Joe Vozar expressed concern that CBD edibles are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Palatnik said there’s a political reason for that.

“The FDA doesn’t want to approve CBD because of the marijuana industry, and they tie it together,” he said. “You can sell products not approved by the FDA.”

CBD is misunderstood because it is often sold in stores that cater to marijuana users, sometimes called “head shops,” Palatnik said.

CBD and marijuana are part of the cannabis family, but hemp and marijuana are different plants, experts say. Hemp has less than 1 percent THC, the ingredient that makes people high when consumed, and its seeds are used to make ingestible medicinal powders sold in retail outlets like Walmart. CBD is made from the flowers, leaves and stalks of hemp and it’s added to a wide variety of products, from gummy candy to capsules to lotions and oils, which are sold online and at some retail outlets.

Palatnik said he opened his first CBD shop three years ago and the business has been “expanding fast” since then.

“We have a lot of customers from this area that drive to our shop in the city, he said. “This is a great location for us. The strip mall (where the Naperville store is located) has four vacancies. Our business can help the center, bring new customers to the center,” he said.

CBD products are already being sold in smoke shops, health food stores and specialty outlets, such as CBD American Shaman on Maple Avenue in Lisle, which opened in January and requires customers to be at least 18 years old to make a purchase.

Palatnik said his shops only sell to customers who are 21 or older, and many people like purchasing in person because they can consult with his employees, who are knowledgeable about the products.

“It’s a pretty new product in the U.S. It got popular in 2015 and 2016,” he said. “All our products labeled. We never got sued. We never had any major complaints. We never had anyone that went to the hospital. … In Dallas, police came and checked and tested. And I sent them lab work, and I never heard from them again.”

The CBD products sold in his stores are independently tested, he said, adding he would provide lab results to the commission.

His stores also sell items using kratom, an herbal supplement made from a tropical evergreen tree, which is part of the coffee plant family and native to Southeast Asia, where Palatnik said he grew up. The FDA has not approved kratom, which is often ground into a powder and added to smoothies and teas.

“The FDA is warning consumers not to use kratom. The effects could be risk of abuse and dependence,” Commissioner Chuck Maher said at the meeting. “I’d say I would not support this at all, a business focused on that. Walgreens products (like hemp soap) are products not absorbed in the chemistry in the brain. We’ve got enough problems with opioids.”

“I don’t want to rush to judgment,” countered Commissioner Mitch Stauffer. “I think there is a stigma. FDA choosing not to endorse is by no means condemnation. I’m inclined to proceed cautiously.”

The FDA looked into banning kratom, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration considered placing kratom in the Schedule I category of controlled substances, which include heroin and other deadly synthetic opioids. Neither agency moved forward with those plans after public backlash, although they are still under consideration.

Naperville Senior Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Lutzke said kratom is banned in five states, “including Indiana and Wisconsin, and two municipalities in Illinois. We could implement (a ban) if council decided.”

“A majority of our business is CBD,” said Palatnik, who offered to exclude kratom from any CBD store he opens in Naperville.

Chirico told Palatnik the commission will look at kratom separately and will consider making a recommendation on a CBD store at their next meeting, after commissioners and staff have a chance to do their own research on cannabidiol.

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