by Diane Craig
For Heinz Brand, success – like a fine Swiss watch – has been a matter of impeccable timing.
Take the Swiss-born entrepreneur’s most recent business venture, Orcas Island Cannabis.
The clock was ticking on who would utilize the last of the three county-approved retail recreational cannabis licenses in the San Juans.
“San Juan claimed one, Orcas claimed one and I think the idea was that Lopez would secure the third. Turns out, Lopez Island passed on having a shop and, just before the opportunity ran out, I was able to secure the third,” Brand said.
He said adding a second store offers the community freedom of choice, a consideration behind the opening of his signature business, Enzo’s Caffe.
The shop, which launched in September 2018 in Eastsound, is open seven days a week and features a broad selection of products – from flower, bath salts and oils to oral tinctures and topical creams to edibles and infused juices.
Since Orcas Island Cannabis is not a medical dispensary, the state prohibits the sale of pure CBD oil like the kind found at health food stores or veterinarian clinics. In a recreational store, all oils, tinctures and even bath salts contain both CBD and THC, but in varying amounts.
“Believe it or not,” Heinz said, “50 percent of our customers are over 50 years old, and many are new to the beneficial attributes of CBD.”
The non-profit website Next Avenue recently published “The ABCs of CBD: Marijuana Products for Your Health” noting that “… it’s generally accepted that CBD can provide therapeutic healing for physical and mental ailments.”
“Too often, people work under misconceptions about cannabis. In fact, there is a variety of helpful products derived from the plant,” he said. “Some worry about the THC content and getting too high when there are dozens of combinations and delivery systems that contain such small amounts of THC that one would hardly notice.”
Both Heinz and the store’s general manager, Cat Sena, recognize the need for more education about the health benefits of THC and CBD. One of their vendors, Fairwinds, a Washington state family-owned tincture and topical ointment company, has expressed a willingness to offer the community valuable information about the products’ benefits and uses.
“We’re just looking for the right venue,” Heinz said, adding that islanders might be surprised to learn how beneficial such products can be.
Orcas Island Cannabis, located at 1533 Mt. Baker Road, is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For those concerned about anonymity, private sessions can be arranged by calling the shop at 360-622-5097.