MEDFORD, Ore. — CBD Joe’s Coffee and Que is the first restaurant in the Medford area to serve the non-intoxicating cannabidiol. Located behind Weedbucks on Central Avenue, CBD Joe’s food truck serves up breakfast and barbecue with a side of CBD tincture.
Born and raised in Springfield, Illinois, co-owner of the restaurant, Jason Osborne, says he’s been working in the restaurant industry since he was 15 years old. “I was running my first restaurant when I was 17,” says Osborne.
He says he’s been growing cannabis since 1995. “But of course, that was different growing.”
After he moved to Oregon, he came across the medicinal cannabis program and began growing to treat his medical conditions. “I got serious about [growing] within the last 5 years,” says Osborne.
His passion doesn’t lie only with the restaurant industry, he’s become a cannabis activist as well.
What really started me off in activism or fighting for cannabis rights was when Prop 91 passed,” he says.
“They started imposing a lot of rules that would’ve affected the medical program and I wasn’t cool with that.”
Osborne says this made him want to stand up for their votes and testify. “It would have been very restrictive and would’ve caused a lot of people who had been growing for a long time not to be able to,” he says.
This led to Osborne being heavily fined for his own grow. “I made the stand that I wasn’t going to cut my plants down,” says Osborne. “Of course, all the fines were reversed, but still, I made the stand.”
Osborne says the idea of creating CBD Joe’s came to him when he was driving to work one morning. “I was sitting at a coffee place looking at another coffee place across the road,” says Osborne. “I was watching cars driving by, not able to go to either coffee shop because of the business level at both, thinking ‘wow, there could be another coffee place here.’”
Osborne says that the industry he’s in prompted him to ask if people would want CBD in their coffee. “I started talking to some friends of mine and they agreed that it was a great idea.”
CBD Joe’s started off with the focus on adding CBD to food. “Nobody’s gone through the process the way we have where we put it on our paperwork when we went in,” says Osborne. “The lady at the city office actually had to ask, ‘what is CBD?’ So that was pretty cool.”
Osborne acknowledges the stigma surrounding the cannabis industry and the difference between THC and CBD. He says they are very adamant about not making the business appear to be a part of stoner culture. “It’s not the same thing; it just doesn’t fit,” he says.
People question Osborne putting CBD in coffee. “There’s still the joke [that CBD will get someone high]," he says. "We have to educate to get people to realize that joke is antiquated.”
“There are two types of cannabis and we’re not serving the one that does that to you,” he says. “In fact, we’re serving the one that if you’ve had too much of the other kind, you need to come see me and get leveled out.”
The biggest issue Osborne and his business partner ran into wasn’t about CBD, but rather the idea of a food truck instead of a brick and mortar style restaurant. “There’s no guidebook for building a food truck,” Osborne says. “In a food truck, space is at a premium, so you have to figure out how to fit many things into very tight spaces.”
Osborne says the reactions from the community, as well as the city, have been positive. “They were pretty excited about what we were trying to do,” he says. “Everyone perks up when I talk about it.”
Osborne says the process to be approved to sell CBD in the food was simple. “I have to get it from an ODA licensed farm here in Oregon and I have to show my testing results to prove it’s less than .3% THC,” he says. “There’s really nothing else to it.”
He clarifies that the CBD is added to the food, not cooked into it. “Having CBD in the name automatically implies to most people that all the food has it,” he says. “No, all the food can have it. It’s completely optional.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next 6 months to a year you’ll start seeing signs in front of restaurants,” he says. “I mean, why wouldn’t you? People want it.”
Osborne says that a lot of his customers have been senior citizens. “Some of them don’t want to go into a dispensary, some of them don’t want to drop [tinctures] in their mouth,” he says. “They’re looking for biscuits and gravy with CBD, coffee with CBD, a fried egg sandwich with CBD. They’re excited about it.”
“If you’ve wanted to try it, I’d love to be the person to give someone their first experience with CBD and see if it helps them,” Osborne says. “All my activism and all my work in the cannabis field has been about getting the medicine to the people."