POCATELLO — A few days after the world’s last Blockbuster video store became an Airbnb earlier this month, a new business opened in the Yellowstone Avenue building that once housed the Gate City’s Blockbuster about a decade ago.
While James Rupp, co-owner of Nugget CBD in Pocatello, is excited to offer local residents what he says is the most trusted and largest variety of cannabidiol, or CBD, products in the area, he has no plans to let customers stay overnight, though many might want to.
“Pocatello is our hometown and we want to bring something that is helping others to our community,” Rupp recently told the Idaho State Journal. “The Yellowstone and former Blockbuster location is very iconic and sits right in one of the most traveled areas of town. We aren’t trying to hide. We want to be seen and that’s what we really appreciate about this location. We want people to know we are compliant to Idaho and federal laws with the most trusted CBD products around, which is why we are here to stay. Being in this location helps us achieve that goal by giving us that exposure.”
In referring to the Blockbuster in Bend, Oregon, that recently became an Airbnb, Rupp added, “Wow! Maybe we can reach out and get some decorations.”
The Nugget CBD store that opened on Aug. 15 at 705 Yellowstone Ave. in the former Blockbuster building that’s also the current home of a cash loan business marks the company’s fifth Idaho storefront since the first standalone Nugget CBD opened in the state in Meridian in June 2019.
Rupp, along with his partners George Himes and Jade Cuthbert, both of Pocatello, are the co-owners of the newest Nugget CBD franchise stores in Idaho Falls and Pocatello, with Rupp controlling a major stake in the Idaho Falls store, Cuthbert owning a major stake in the Pocatello store and Himes set to own a major stake in the Twin Falls location once it opens here in the near future, Rupp said.
“I wouldn’t be here without the help of George and Jade,” Rupp said. “When we first started out I reached out to the owner of the company who started the Nugget CBD in the mall in Boise. We spoke about a plan to expand this business in East Idaho. George, Jade and I went to Boise and learned how to handle the product. After meeting with the owner, we discussed all of the organizational details and signed a contract that made us business partners.”
Providing customers with a variety of carefully selected CBD products and the knowledge to understand the benefits and regulations surrounding the product, always with genuine customer service, is the No. 1 goal for Nugget CBD, Rupp said. That starts with knowing what CBD is and how it works, as well as the legality of the product, he added.
CBD is a molecule derived from the cannabis plant, both industrial hemp and marijuana. The cannabis plant produces over 100 different naturally occurring chemical compounds, including terpenes, THC and CBD. Unlike THC, which is short for tetrahydrocannabinol, CBD is devoid of psychoactive activity but has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Idaho Office of Drug Policy.
Once CBD is extracted, it can be made into a multitude of different products designed to aid in its application. Proponents of CBD have labeled it as a homeopathic treatment for many conditions, but unlike THC, CBD does not produce euphoria or intoxication. CBD is primarily sold as an artisanal product in the form of a tincture, concentrate, capsule, topical, spray or vape oil, the Idaho Office of Drug Policy says.
With regard to the legality of CBD products at the state level, a 2015 Idaho attorney general’s opinion says that under state statute any “material, compound, mixture or preparation that contains any quantity of either (marijuana) or (THC)” is defined as a Schedule I substance, a drug category that also includes heroin, LSD and methamphetamine.
Furthermore, the Idaho attorney general opinion states that oils extracted from the cannabis plant must meet two conditions in order to not be a controlled substance.
First, the oil extract cannot contain any quantity of THC — not just less than the 0.3 percent threshold set forth in the 2018 Federal Farm Bill, which removed certain hemp-derived products with a THC concentration of no more than 0.3 percent by dry weight from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.
Second, the oil extract cannot be deemed marijuana. To meet that criteria, the oil must be derived or produced from mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds or the achene of the plant, sterilized seeds from a plant incapable of germination or any other compound, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks, according to state statutes.
The staff at Nugget CBD ensures their products meet this criteria by ensuring the they don’t contain any THC at all and are derived from legal parts of the hemp plant. But staff don’t just rely on the third-party testing used by the manufacturers, they also solicit a fourth party to again test their products to ensure they are safe and legal to sell and consume, Rupp said.
We are very proud to offer Idaho’s largest variety of CBD products.” Rupp said. “We offer oils, topicals, pet products, edibles, drinks, bath bombs, vape cartridges and a wide variety of other miscellaneous products. We are always looking to expand our inventory. We don’t do any of the production ourselves and instead trust our manufacturers to handle that. We then use a fourth party to ensure their products are exactly what they say they are.”
In terms of its uses, Rupp says the most common ailment people address with CBD is anxiety and depression, followed closely by those with joint pain.
“We have a lot of people who seek out CBD to treat arthritis and severe pain,” Rupp said. “We also have people that come in who deal with seizures and depression and have been told by a doctor or a friend that this has helped with those symptoms and they are seeking some type of relief.”
In addition to the store hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday for the Pocatello location, Rupp said contactless delivery is available for customers living in Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Chubbuck or Blackfoot on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week.
“We will call the individual store where the customer lives to place the order, gather their information and they can pay in person with cash or with a car over the phone,” Rupp said. “Then we would deliver the product on our next delivery day, with weekend deliveries fulfilled on Monday. This is something that we incorporated specifically because of COVID-19.”
In addition to working to erase stigmas surrounding CBD, Rupp said the goal of Nugget CBD moving forward is to expand into as many Idaho communities as possible.
“We want to be able to change the mindset and educate the public about our product,” Rupp said. “We want to be able to help people and erase the stigma surrounding CBD products and we plan on being able to expand into as many Idaho communities as possible and continue to grow and strengthen our relationships with new and prospective customers.