Potion, a New York City-based CBD brand, prides itself on real-person experiences.
“We show the people we care about the community. That’s what we’ve always been about,” says Matthew Choon, Potion’s CEO. “We focus on the people just as much as the product.”
Unlike direct-to-consumer dispensary companies, Potion makes sure to align community and culture within New York City to make CBD a worthwhile and proactive investment.
Potion sells a wide variety of CBD products. From the physical flower to their popular CBD-infused gummies, there’s an item for anyone looking for a THC alternative. They launched in 2018 and included themselves in a variety of city-based business fairs, and even had a pop-up shop.
Coming in spring 2021, Choon and his team plan to open their very own Lower East Side location. This retail CBD dispensary will merge with a modern vintage thrift store concept. Choon expects this business decision to introduce new audiences to the homeostatic benefits that CBD offers. Potion is on their way to recognize themselves as something vital to the DNA of New York City.
The Bigger Picture
Recreational cannabis’ legalization is a complicated subject in New York. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced his third attempt to push for legal adult-use in the state in 2021. But before any of those bureaucratic wheels begin to turn, Potion is taking advantage of the cannabis-related space.
To Choon, native New Yorkers like himself and his team must be able to acquire licenses to sell recreational cannabis
“Inevitably, the corporations are going to come in and take up a lot of the market share,” he explains.
Dispensaries that sell nationwide may not be representative of a single community’s respective values. California-based retailer, MedMen, for example, may be gaining their capital without knowing why the people near a specific location would ever need cannabis.
But Potion knows New Yorkers, and offers products that appeal to their lifestyle — including CBD products that alleviate stress from the ‘New York Pace.’
By the time legalization happens, Choon hopes to have enough capital to get his license to sell THC items.
“Does it Get You High?”
Cannabidiol (CBD), one of the compounds in cannabis, is non-psychoactive. Research shows the cannabinoid is effective at treating inflammation and easing pain.
For example, Dr. Donald Levy of the Osher Clinical Center in Massachusetts told Harvard Health Publishing in reference to CBD that, “the most benefit I have seen as a physician is in treating sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain. Many people report a definite response when it comes to anxiety.“
Choon is completely aware of the skepticism surrounding CBD. Part of his mission is to break through that stigma. In the next phase of Potion, the company will soon release products of the Delta-8 cannabinoid. Delta-8 is a form of THC derived from the hemp plant that is legal in some states. On a federal level, it is still considered to be in the CBD family. Choon says it provides a similar — but non-psychoactive — “high” to recreational cannabis, but without the paranoia or mental stress.
“People react to cannabis differently. Sometimes people don’t take well to it,” explains Choon. “CBD is the thing to counteract that. This is for people not wanting to experience that ‘stoned’ feeling.”
Equity in Cannabis
The market share and ownership of these cannabis-related businesses are dominated by white people.
Potion is making it a priority to contribute to an equitable industry. “Ownership, equity, and representation. That’s how I think we can give back to communities affected negatively by cannabis,” Choo declares with promise.
The store pledges to donate to Black organizations including The Hood Incubator, an organization that introduces BIPOC to the Cannabis industry in an affordable and moral manner.
Also, the thrift-hybrid concept of their physical location will have them donating clothes to various homeless shelters across New York City.
Even in their flashy promotional material, everyone featured in advertisements represents a truer New York. Zoë Reda, one of the many promotional faces for the company, holds a CBD bath bomb while encompassed in a pink hue.
In reference to Potion, Reda says, “We have the opportunity to ensure accessibility and education to New York City by leading the cannabis industry in a direction of positivity, creativity, and inclusivity.”
What makes New York great are the many stories that have yet to be told, and Potion is that voice for those who need it. It’s just the beginning of their journey to making cannabis-related goods infused with justice and the heart of their community.
“Creating this lifestyle and this movement sets a tone for New York and helps bring its culture back,” Choon explains.