Lloyd Center has fallen on hard times.
In the late 1990s—a time when it wasn't a surprise to see the Trail Blazers competing for a championship, nor to see them flipping through the CD racks at Sam Goody—local kids would flock to the mall in hopes of spotting one of their hometown heroes. Now, Lloyd Center, once hailed as the biggest mall in Oregon, is littered with vacant storefronts.
But there are sparks of life.
Michael Schroder, owner of CBD Superette, is trying to bring both the fun and wellness associated with cannabis and one of its primary components, cannabidiol, into that most all-American of retail settings.
CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis compound that can now be found in everything from beer to candy, as well as smokable flower, is one of the hottest trends sweeping progressive enclaves across America.
"People love the fact that they can come to the mall and buy a pre-roll," says Schroder, an East L.A. expat who moved to Oregon in 2000. "It's a fun new thing to be able to experience, especially with the current day and age we live in."
But CBD Superette is not a dispensary, where the atmosphere can sometimes be intimidating, and also lacking in CBD products. Schroder says there remains a "stigma" around cannabis, which deters customers from seeking out CBD.
That's where Schroder's storefront comes in. All products—which include tinctures, oils, vape pens and, yes, joints—are derived from hemp, rather than cannabis flower, and contain no more than .03 percent THC, which allows them to be sold outside of a state-regulated dispensary. (Schroder notes that you must be 18 to buy tinctures and 21 to purchase a vape cartridge or joint.) But looking at the light green, bubblegum-scented flower Schroder has in a jar behind the counter, you couldn't tell the difference between the shop's buds and THC-rich cannabis if not for the testing results on hand.
But there is a catch, because much like mall vitamin and supplement shops—such as GNC in the 1990s, which Schroder says is a model for his business—if you ingest products carelessly, you could end up failing a drug test.
"If someone is taking a full-plant, full-spectrum extract, then yes, they could fail," he says. "But if they are taking isolates, which are 99.9 percent pure CBD, then they aren't going to fail a drug test."
And as an added bonus, you can play the classic Simpsons arcade game the shop has on hand.