In a bustling strip shopping center at Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard, Joe Vargas is setting up shop. The luxe oversized couch and massage chairs have already arrived, though they’re yet to be put in place. Two workers are constructing a water feature as Vargas watches on, recording the moment for his social media feeds.
On January 31, Vargas will open what he says will be the world’s first CBD hemp oil store and smoothie shop, Buy Legal Meds. This is not to be confused with the plethora of cannabis dispensaries that now dot the Valley. Unlike marijuana, hemp-based CBD oil doesn’t create a high due to its small amount of THC. Additionally, Vargas explains, it won’t impair driving or ding employees who undergo drug testing. For this reason, the store will have what dispensaries are legally prohibited from offering: an on-site consumption lounge.
Formerly a nightlife industry blogger and entrepreneur, Vargas started selling CBD oil online through the website buylegalmeds.com in June 2015. He’s gone from working out of his dad’s kitchen to growing the operation into what he says is a multimillion-dollar business with a 4,800-square-foot production facility. Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill act, he ships around the world and everywhere in the U.S., though some states have more restrictive rules for purchasers.
Like medicinal marijuana, CBD oil is used to help with various ailments. For example, Buy Legal Meds’ Activ8 CBD Freeze is a pain-relieving gel that alleviates sore muscles and arthritis. The proprietary Cloud N9ne Syrup combines CBD oil with melatonin and a mix of nine herbs to combat anxiety, insomnia and other maladies.
Vargas says BLM’s retail store is the first of a planned chain around the Vegas Valley.