RADNOR — Radnor officials have ordered a new business called CBD Kratom to shut down days after opening because the owners never contacted the township and never applied for or received any of the required building or business permits.
Monday night, residents packed into the meeting of the Radnor Board of Commissioners to express their anger over how the business opened, the products it sells and its location near schools.
“I’m dismayed that something like this could happen,” said Joseph Smith, rector of the nearby St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. “We’ve all been wondering what’s going to go in there – what’s going to go into the old Starbucks. There’s paper on the windows, and we wait in anticipation and then see a giant pot leaf.”
The business is called CBD KRATOM and it opened without any township approval last week at 218 E. Lancaster Ave. in Wayne inside the former Starbucks coffee shop. The company’s website indicates that they sell CBD, kratom, Delta-8 THC and other cannabinoids products.
While the store was preparing to open, residents and township officials say the windows were covered, so no one knew what was happening inside.
John Rice, solicitor for Radnor Township, said the owners of the shop never contacted the township regarding the opening of the store.
“Township employees left business cards there … but there was no contact at all by anybody from that organization with the township until today (Monday),” Rice said.
According to Rice, after finally speaking with representatives of the business, township staff told them about the substantial permitting requirements needed before they can open up. Those required permits could include building, electrical, demolition, zoning and business license, Rice said.
So, was this a mom-and-pop operation that didn’t have lawyers telling them they needed township permits before they could operate? That’s not very likely.
The company’s website lists business operations in Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, New York and Philadelphia. The Philadelphia area listings include stores in Media, Wynnefield Heights and Center City. Under the South Wayne listing, it reads “Coming Soon!”
Radnor officials say the store will remain closed until the township has those building plans. Since they don’t know what has been done to the space, Radnor officials say they don’t know specifically what permits are needed.
According to Rice, the business has agreed to shut down until the permitting issues are resolved.
A phone call to the store was not returned Tuesday morning. However, in a statement to ABC 6, company Vice President Dafna Revah said, “Unfortunately, Radnor Township requirements were not identified by our team. I strive to live by our core values, which include responsibility, and which is why I take full ownership of this oversight.”
In an article published by the Mayo Clinic, kratom is described as a herbal extract that comes from the leaves of an evergreen tree in Southeast Asia.
“Although people who take kratom believe in its value, researchers who have studied kratom think its side effects and safety problems more than off any potential benefits. Poison control centers in the United States received about 1,800 reports involving use of kratom from 2011 through 2017, including reports of death. About half of these exposures resulted in serious negative outcomes such as seizures and high blood pressure. Five of the seven infants who were reported to have been exposed to kratom went through withdrawal. kratom has been classified as possibly unsafe when taken orally,” the article states.
In June 2018, Caleb Sturgis, 25, of West Chester died after he drank tea made with kratom.
Reading from a letter signed by 88 residents and businesses opposed to the store, Kate Hart said kratom had been banned in six states, and another product listed on the company’s website, Delta 8, has been banned in 19 states.
“I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of CBD use because, quite honestly, that’s not the issue at hand,” Hart said. “The issue here is how did a store that sells substances that are banned in 19 states literally open up illegally next to two schools, three nursery schools and local churches without anyone knowing about it.”
Hart said the company’s website indicated customers had to be 18 to visit the site, but last Friday night, students posted photos of themselves standing next to the marijuana leaf on the store’s window.
Other residents said the business should not be opened within 1,000 feet of a school. In this case, two schools are nearby.
Clark Engle said he was shocked after learning about the store Friday.
“I don’t want it in my backyard or anywhere else on the face of the Earth for that matter,” Engle said. “If you think legalizing drugs or making it safe for people to inject, so they don’t get diseases from dirty needles is a good idea or leads to less crime, you’re delusional. These utopian ideas just don’t work. Look at San Francisco.”