Pair of CBD shops spring up in Maplewood

Solomon Gustavo photos/Review The owner of CBD oil store Nothing But Hemp, Steven Brown, at his new kiosk in Maplewood Mall.

Doug Herkenhoff, owner of CBD Hempdropz, opened his White Bear Avenue store in Maplewood this past August.

As trends go, enthusiastic and creative backers of CBD are seemingly finding new uses for it all the time.

On top of ho-hum capsules, there’s CBD body oil for massages, gummies, topical Bengay-like creams for aches, drops for underneath the tongue or extracts to drip into a drink. 

Ways to take CBD seem endless. The list of what it’s used for does, too. 

It’s used to relieve all kinds of physical pain, as well as for trickier troubles like stress and depression. People with cancer, ADHD, arthritis and foot cramps use it. People even give it to their antsy pets. 

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is derived from hemp, a cousin of marijuana.

The owner of Nothing But Hemp in Maplewood Mall, Steven Brown, said he got into CBD after his fiance started using it and feeling relief from relentless migraines. Brown suffers anxiety from time in the military, which he said is best managed by CBD — his routine is a CBD oil drop under his tongue in the morning and evening. 

The owner of CBD Hempdropz on White Bear Avenue in Maplewood, Doug Herkenhoff, also turned to CBD after hearing through the grapevine how it could do wonders. He started taking it himself, settling into the habit of a water soluble in the morning and a gummy before bed. 

“I didn’t realize how bad I slept,” said Herkenhoff, adding it also helps with his feet and little aches and pains. “It’s life-changing.”

Nothing But Hemp set up shop in November, while CBD Hempdropz opened in August. 

With its close association to marijuana, hemp, from which CBD is derived, is illegal at the federal level for industrial growth. But Minnesota passed a farm bill that made growing hemp and selling hemp products legal.

“It’s a grey area,” said Brown on the legality of selling CBD products.

“It’s a federal Schedule 1 substance,” said Herkenhoff, pointing out the Drug Enforcement Administration could shut him down at any time. 

To get Hempdropz set up in a strip mall on White Bear Avenue, Herkenhoff said he called both the city and the state health department. The business was registered, he said, and Maplewood sent a building inspector. Other than a new fire hydrant, Hempdropz was good to go. 

Brown said there were really no regulatory procedures to follow particular to CBD or hemp — the biggest hassle he faced was finding a space to lease. 


Easy as CBD 

Brown found building owners were scared to make room for a hemp business, a shop so closely associated with marijuana. 

He said he tried finding a spot for Nothing But Hemp around his south Minneapolis neighborhood. He then opened things up and looked at any opening in any city. In the end, Brown said Maplewood worked best. 

“I feel as though it’s the right demographic for CBD,” said Brown, speculating that left-leaning people are more receptive to the product.

Unable to land a storefront that wasn’t too big or tiny in places like Rodgers or Maple Grove, Hemdropz’s ownership was attracted to Maplewood, mainly because of the medium-sized space available on White Bear Avenue. 

Herkenhoff said the community is also just right. 

“It’s a really good community. No one has asked, ‘Hey, are you selling bud here?’ or anything stupid like that,” he said.

After a short search, Herkenhoff and his business partner were ready to call their current storefront home, though the building’s owner was still a little nervous. 

“Then he went into GNC and saw it there,” said Herkenhoff, “and thought [CBD] was pretty mainstream.”

CBD products have started showing up in stores across Minnesota. The first city in the state with a few businesses willing to jump into the murky legal waters of CBD was St. Cloud, where Herkenhoff lives. 

“I hope we can keep going forward,” he said. “I have no fear.”

Herkenhoff said Hempdropz isn’t open to make money but to help people get off pharmaceuticals. His customers are mostly older people who have taken pain-killing drugs like oxycontin for decades. 

Argued Brown, “It’s a natural alternative.”


–Solomon Gustavo can be reached at or 651-748-7815.

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