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Article Published August 13, 2019

Better Ways Offers ‘Hemp Therapy’ to Branford and Beyond

By Pam Johnson/

In April, business partners and friends Paul Stoecker and Duncan Markovich opened one of the state’s first full-spectrum hemp therapy health and wellness stores, Better Ways LLC, on Main Street in Branford.

Five months later, the duo says their business is taking root in the windowed shop at 1122 Main Street. The two are also hoping to break down the stigma associated with the cannabis plant.

“There’s marijuana, and then there’s hemp,” said Stoecker of the two very different strains of cannabis.

Marijuana can contain 20 to 30 percent of the brain-receptive substance tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis. Hemp plants used for wellness therapy have less than 0.3 percent THC, and between 25 to 30 percent cannabidiol (CBD).

In December 2018, the federal Hemp Farming Act was signed into law. It removes hemp (defined as cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC) from Schedule I controlled substances and makes it an ordinary agricultural commodity.

Poised to go into business early in 2019, Stoecker and Markovich had been closely following the progress of the federal farming act. Then, one month after they opened their Branford shop, Connecticut’s new Hemp Law was signed by Governor Ned Lamont in May. The Connecticut law allows unlimited hemp production and the sale of foods containing CBD.

“I don’t sell any CBD products in my store; I sell full-spectrum hemp products,” said Stoecker. “But I know everyone’s asking about [CBD], and if they come in, and they want to use CBD—or hemp therapy, as I like to call it—they can get it from us...”

The shop also carries pet-friendly products.

On Aug. 8, Better Ways teamed up for the first time with neighboring business, Home Restaurant at 1114 Main Street to offer a hemp-infused meal served during a dinner event, making Home Connecticut’s first restaurant to offer a three-course, hemp-infused dinner, they said. Stoecker and Markovich hope to team up monthly with Home to offer future hemp-infused dinners.

In compliance with the Food and Drug Administration, Better Ways LLC does not make any health claims about its products; staff also recommends consulting with a qualified medical doctor or physician prior to consuming hemp products or preparing a treatment plan.

Customers visiting the store or the Better Ways website must be 21 or over.