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Two Lexington businesswomen are opening a new bar on Manchester that promises to bring a whole new buzz to the Distillery District. And they are ready to jump into medical marijuana as well.
But why wait when you can have the legal option now?
CannaBuzz Bar hopes to open its dispensary by April 20 (a date associated with enthusiasm for marijuana) at 938 Manchester St., across from a new boutique hotel under construction and near the Grand Reserve and Speakeasy venues owned by Jill Bakehorn.
“We’ll be one of the first businesses putting this out there, and it’s all natural,” Bakehorn said.
“As I went through COVID with a catering business and probably the second largest venue in town, and all that shut down, I just had to keep my mind active,” Bakehorn said. Rouse began using Bakehorn’s commercial kitchen to package her products. And Bakehorn wanted to introduce cannabis-based relaxation experiences to her lineup of offerings.
Where will CannaBuzz Bar be?
They are opening in a space leased from Wildcat Moving and Storage that decades ago housed a dive bar.
Now, it will have a dispensary and soon an elixir bar to serve products to people looking for a natural high such as edibles and elixirs.
“The elixir bar will focus on non-alcoholic products that will promote health and wellness for your mind and body,” Bakehorn said. “That’s what people ultimately want to know: ‘Hey, am I able to alter my mind, or my experience?’ Yes, you can, this is how and we’re doing it legally. And we’re doing it naturally.”
Is it legal to sell products with THC in Kentucky?
Yes, you got that right, CannaBuzz Bar will sell cannabis products with serious buzz. Legally.
How is that possible?
Rouse, who has been working to legalize hemp products in Kentucky for decades, said that Cannabis sativa (or hemp) products with up to 0.3 percent THC are legal. And her offerings will be all natural.
“They’re all natural, plant-derived cannabinoids,” Rouse said. Most of the products are made from hemp grown in Kentucky but some are from other states including Colorado.
“Right now we can do microdose THC concentrations which provide a really nice relaxation effect,” Rouse said.
Her products are geared to a variety of wellness aims, from elevating mental focus and mood to easing pain and inflammation. Her Overcome brands also offer a range of potencies, including some without THC.
But some products do quite a bit more.
“Our Hemp Mellow which has microdose levels of Delta 9 THC ... all legal at a federal level, our Mellow Dreams, which uses CBN with different terpenes plus microdose levels of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids, create a really great sleep formula,” Rouse said.
“Then we have another brand called 13th Floor which actually capitalizes on the THC levels that can be found in legally derived hemp products,” Rouse said. It’s “a natural alternative to Delta 8.”
Will CannaBuzz Bar sell medical marijuana?
These products differ from the chemically created Delta 8 THC products. Legislation recently signed by Gov. Andy Beshear will establish regulations this summer for sales of hemp-derived products, which will be restricted to those 21 and over.
Next door to the retail store will be a health bar where Bakehorn will offer edible and drinkable concoctions with THC, CBD and other hemp-derived chemicals in “buzz boards.”
Rouse and Bakehorn plan to apply for a license to serve alcohol and also hope to apply for a license to dispense medical marijuana, now that the General Assembly has legalized it.
“It’s all cannabis. Hemp is cannabis, marijuana is cannabis. They’re the same plant, just different varieties,” Rouse said.
‘People want THC’
“I think what COVID really taught the hemp industry is that people want THC. ... Just like people want alcohol, they want to escape, they want an intoxicant and COVID really shined a light on that,” Rouse said. “You saw people were lining up around the corner for dispensaries. ... That’s when the Delta 8 movement started gaining a lot of momentum and people shifted from buying CBD to buying Delta 8. People thought CBD would provide pain relief or escape but for many it didn’t provide enough.”
Behind the bar and store they hope to set up a beer garden with room for food trucks to serve patrons, and a greenspace and venue for live music.
Bakehorn, who also operates Bluegrass Catering with her mother, Judy Bakehorn, and is a partner in the Wm. Tarr Bourbon Distillery, said they hope to have the bar and beer garden open later this year.
“We hope to create an experience that combines education and showcases other hemp products,” Bakehorn said.
They envision offering customers a wide variety of hemp products from hemp “wood” to art on handmade hemp paper.
“We’re really just trying to bridge that knowledge gap of Kentucky’s rich history with the present and bring that into the forefront so that people can understand that Colorado’s not the cannabis epicenter,” Rouse said. “One day when Kentucky finally accepts this plant back into its crop rotations ... we’ll be here showing all the visitors and tourists that come here that Kentucky is the hemp and cannabis capital of the world.”