Jae Phillip isn’t just a CBD retailer. Phillip uses the product herself to deal with chronic health issues resulting from the removal of a brain tumor and side effects from medications prescribed after the surgery. With Intentional CBD, she hopes to help others do the same.
Phillip went to see her doctor about frequent headaches in 2011. Tests revealed a brain tumor on her pituitary gland at the base of her brain. The surgery was successful and the tumor non-cancerous, but she was left with a host of medical issues as a result, such as chronic fatigue, chronic pain, thyroid issues and diabetes incipidus. She was put on a number of medications, including steroids.
“The steroids caused the most issues as I tried to get back to my healthy life,” she said. “I’m a very tiny person and the steroids blew me up so much, it came to a point where it was so bad that I felt like I couldn’t walk and that I would pop like a balloon. I had chronic pain, I had chronic fatigue, everything was just chronic. I felt like I didn’t know what else to do, and the more stressed I was getting about my situation, the more I had to take steroids.”
Her condition ended up costing Phillip her job at the Office of the Governor because she couldn’t control her chronic fatigue and would fall asleep at work.
Phillip had tried cannabis, but found she had become highly sensitive to the THC, causing a trip to the emergency room. She turned to CBD products to still get the “cannabis medicine without the high.”
“Basically, after a few years, I’m to a point where I’m excited, I’m happy, I’m living life again. It increased my energy level, I started to lose weight and was able to do exercises and I eventually went off the steroids. And that’s how this came about with Intentional CBD, because this is something I could do to help people.”
Her brother LaZón Phillp, a Navy veteran, saw his sister suffer and wanted to help her through the process, from healing to starting a business and helping others. He is co-founder and COO of Intentional CBD. SuLayne Walker, an attorney, assists with all the legal angles and compliance.
At the moment, Intentional CBD is sold online only. They will be opening a storefront as soon as their permits are approved, hopefully in November. In the meantime, they ship and offer hand delivery free for orders over $50 and free curbside pick-up on St. Thomas and Water Island. They sell everything CBD, edibles, tinctures, ointments, oil, soft gels capsules, bath bombs, smokables and bundles for special occasions such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
Phillip says their biggest challenge is with banking and credit cards.
The 2018 Farm Bill enacted by the U.S. Congress allows for the legal cultivation and use of industrial hemp in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but three years later, the banking and merchant processing rules have not caught up, almost forcing CBD retailers into becoming cash only businesses. Local banks refused to open an account for Intentional CBD.
“Why did you guys make it legal if you’re not going to allow CBD retailers to bank with you?” Phillip said. “I don’t think they are thinking these things through. We’re in a position where we need to expand and we need to apply for things and they’re asking for business banking. They are not allowing us to do the right thing and that’s what the majority of our frustration is. It’s leading us to go register in another state and we are looking into doing that before we even get the store, because we need to do it right. Once you register in another state as a foreign LLC, then you could get all the perks that go with that. You’re a viable company registered in the states, so you can get merchant processing and you can get a bank. “
Phillips says she has been nominated to be on former senator Positive Nelson’s V.I. Cannabis Advisory Board. Once installed, “I intend to speak up. We have to do something about this merchant processing and have to give people options for banking. These two things are super important for a business.”
Since helping others is at the core of Intentional CBD, the company offers deep discounts to veterans, teachers, first responders and frontline workers (with proof) and those with long-term disabilities (with certification from a doctor). Phillip also offers discounts to low-income households. Call 678-404-9398 or visit www.intentionalcbd.com for more details.