New Wauconda store selling cannabis products without the high

  • Co-owner Josh Bernicchi and his partners have opened a store called Urban Roots Hemp in Wauconda. The store sells gels, bath products, salves and other items made from hemp, a different strain of the cannabis plant than the one that produces pot.

      Co-owner Josh Bernicchi and his partners have opened a store called Urban Roots Hemp in Wauconda. The store sells gels, bath products, salves and other items made from hemp, a different strain of the cannabis plant than the one that produces pot. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

  • Urban Roots Hemp recently opened at 210 W. Liberty St. in Wauconda. The store sells gels, bath products, salves and other items made from hemp, a different strain of the cannabis plant than the one that produces pot.

      Urban Roots Hemp recently opened at 210 W. Liberty St. in Wauconda. The store sells gels, bath products, salves and other items made from hemp, a different strain of the cannabis plant than the one that produces pot. Russell Lissau | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/24/2019 3:43 PM

As Wauconda officials discuss zoning rules for businesses that would manufacture or sell marijuana, a store devoted to products that are made from cannabis plants but aren't intoxicating has opened in town.

Urban Roots Hemp, 210 W. Liberty St., sells gels, bath products, salves and other items made from hemp, a different strain of the cannabis plant than the one that produces pot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Hemp can be used to make a variety of other products, too, including rope, paper, clothing and even insulation.

Products made from hemp contain cannabidiol, one of the natural compounds that can be extracted from cannabis plants. Some people use products with cannabidiol, or CBD for short, to relieve pain, manage stress and for other health purposes.

But consuming products with CBD doesn't create the sense of euphoria brought on by smoking or eating marijuana. That's because CBD products only contain small amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. It's more commonly called THC.

Without that high, the products are legal in Illinois.

Urban Roots Hemp co-owner Josh Bernicchi said he and his partners wanted to create a store that would help customers deal with anxiety, pain management and other health issues and also educate people about cannabis.

Business, he said, has been "huge."

"We're impacting people's lives, not just selling a product," Bernicchi said.

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Urban Roots Hemp filled a long-vacant building that formerly held Hookah Lounge.

Wauconda Trustee Tim Howe was happy to see the new business open its doors. He said CBD oils aren't that different from essential oils or other holistic treatments.

"It's only that it's mildly controversial for some because it's derived from the same plant family which produces THC-containing cannabis," Howe said.

Bernicchi's partners at Urban Roots Hemp are Jimmy Dolezal and Aaron Aggarwal. Dolezal co-owns Durty Nellie's in Palatine, while Aggarwal co-owns three Wauconda restaurants: the Green Goat, Middleton's on Main and Bulldogs Grill.

Aggarwal said Urban Roots Hemp "is a little bit of a stretch" from his restaurant experience. He said he started using CBD after attending a hemp and cannabis trade show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"With all the restaurants and stress I decided I would try the oil and see if it would help me," he said. "I'm not saying it's the end-all cure-all, but it definitely has helped with my stressful life."

The cannabis industry is about to expand dramatically in Illinois.

Starting Jan. 1, anyone 21 or over in Illinois can possess up to 30 grams of cannabis, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC.

Likewise, businesses growing, manufacturing or selling marijuana will be allowed to operate in Illinois with state licenses.

Individual communities can outlaw the businesses or regulate them with zoning rules -- like the ones Wauconda officials are crafting.

Those regulations could be ready for board approval in December, Village Administrator Kevin Timony said.

Because Urban Roots Hemp's products don't contain enough THC to get someone high, the businesses doesn't need a state marijuana license. It doesn't have to comply with whatever marijuana-related zoning laws Wauconda officials might eventually enact, either.

Urban Roots Hemp is open Tuesdays through Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. For more information, call (847) 865-5874 or visit urhempshop.com.

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