Serenity owner Roger Haines, right, explains the benefits of CBD oil to customers.

Marathon has a new offering for residents who prefer the “natural” side of modern medicine. Meet Roger Haines, owner of Serenity CBD and E-liquids. A self-described “businessman all my life,” Haines has constantly searched for new opportunities in growing industries. One such opportunity came at the very end of last year.

In December, Congress passed the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill provided continuations and modifications of many agricultural policies, but among the most notable was the legalization of regulated production of hemp products. The word “hemp” to some is synonymous with marijuana, but there is one key difference. While marijuana and hemp products do come from the same cannabis plant, hemp products may not contain more than 0.3 percent of THC, the compound in the cannabis plant associated with the “high” effects of marijuana.

Upon seeing the change in legislation and imagining its long term effects, Haines decided it was time to open his first hemp products store in March of 2019. However, finding the right location with a willing landlord was a challenge. “I was searching for a location on the west coast and had an opportunity in Tucson, Arizona, but I thought, ‘It’s just not the right place.’” The “right place” soon made itself available in Marathon, and Haines acquired his first store in June.

With a soft opening on Aug. 1, and a grand opening soon to follow, Serenity offers a plethora of CBD-infused products, from tinctures and vapor cartridges to infused joint and muscle creams, face masks, reef-safe sunscreens, and edible products. Thanks to the work of David Klein, developer of the Jelly Belly brand, even CBD-infused jelly beans are available. To go along with its hemp products, the store also carries oils and hardware for more traditional electronic cigarettes, and there’s even a pet products section for Marathon’s ever-growing population of furry companions.

For Haines, quality is a main concern when selecting new products. “We want to be a reputable store, and the way to do that is to sell the best products available,” he explained. “This isn’t something I’d want to buy at a gas station. When it comes to CBD, the cheapest way to get there is probably with the worst things you can put in your body.” Serenity looks for THC-free products that are third-party tested with guaranteed composition analysis, and focuses on the more widely-known brands and products as its flagship offerings.

As the store continues to grow with ever-changing legislation and development of the business sector, Haines’ focus is on helping those who could experience beneficial health effects through the use of his products. While formal research is still ongoing in many cases, several current users speak to the wide-ranging effects that the use of CBD has had on their overall health. Those who use the products have spoken to their stress-relieving and revitalizing properties, helping with anything from anxiety and depression to sleep improvement. Some have even reported more visible effects like reductions in seizure frequencies and durations.

Haines’ goal is eventually to open 50 stores and help future customers in the same way that CBD has helped his family and friends. His aim, he says, is to provide a natural alternative to many of the traditional synthesized medications for those who wish to give it a try. “I know how many people it’s helped,” he said. “I’ve watched it with my own eyes.”

Curious? Visit Serenity at 65 53rd St. in Marathon.

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