For a guy who loves marijuana, Bill Downing is pretty pissed off.
We are in his small office in lower Allston. Ground-up marijuana shake is on the coffee table, a bud is behind the counter. The walls are covered with charts and graphs touting the health effects of different components of cannabis. Vials and bottles of cannabis-derived salve, balm, shampoo, conditioner and body wash are on display.
Downing is talking weed. Or, more specifically, what he views as the state’s ineptitude when it comes to regulating medical marijuana.
“They (expletive) this up and they continue to (expletive) this up,” he said.
Downing says the state is illegally blocking him from selling marijuana derivative CBD, which he says has none of the psychotropic effects of THC, the compound that gives marijuana users their high.
His troubles began when state officials cracked down on Massachusetts’ growing marijuana industry, sending cease-and-desist letters to many private marijuana dispensaries, including Downing’s.
The 56-year-old father of two says his firm, then known as Yankee Care Givers, had a patient list of over 1,000 people to whom he dispensed medical marijuana.
Downing’s since filed suit against the state’s Department of Health, arguing the state had no right to end his business.
Meanwhile, Downing, an entrepreneur with a business degree from Babson College,
decided to rebrand. He got rid of the weed and hash oil and began selling marijuana derivative cannabidiol, known as CBD. He renamed his firm CBD Please.
Downing, who says he’s a medical marijuana patient himself, and smokes the drug to relieve his gout, says state law says nothing about CBD, which he says can help people reducing anxiety, prevent seizures even aid with digestion. That, he says means he should be allowed back in business.
The state agency overseen the medical marijuana law, Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), meanwhile, declined to speak specifically to the legality of Downing’s operation.