WALLINGFORD – After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Brian Valencia opened his second business, The Local Market LLC, this year as a way to continue helping others in similar scenarios.
“I got access to medical marijuana and it made me feel really good,” he said. “I wanted others to feel the same way.”
The local market houses his other company, Quality over Quantity CBD, which according to Valencia is one of the Mexican-owned cannabis companies in the region. He says his company’s main target consumers are Mexicans and Hispanics in general; Wallingford has a large Mexican community and surrounding cities such as Meriden have a large Puerto Rican community.
In 2019, Quality over Quantity CBD opened an online store from an office in Hamden, shipping products directly to consumers. In June of this year, Valencia opened a new retail location where customers can visit and view products.
The young entrepreneur has not done any marketing for his business since he was planning a grand opening in the spring.
Cooperation is the key
In addition to CBD products, the local market collaborates with other small businesses in Connecticut by selling their products. The market sells things like mugs and rolling trays. “I have a shelf up front where other small businesses can leave their cards,” Valencia said. “I also collaborate with young artists.”
Some of the products he sells are ground hemp coffee, hemp oil, hemp gum bites, hemp joints, and hemp CBD cream.
It also sells products for animals such as CBD dog treats which can be an option for treating social anxiety and separation.
“We don’t sell marijuana products,” Valencia says. “We sell hemp products.”
Although hemp and marijuana come from cannabis sativa, there are differences. Hemp contains 0.3 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive ingredient responsible for the “high” sensation traditionally associated with marijuana. Marijuana contains more than 0.3 percent THC by dry weight, which means a person can get high from ingesting it, Michigan State University in website.
Upon starting his business, Valencia said his parents weren’t familiar with the idea.
“At first, we didn’t understand, but when Brian started going through the opening process, he started educating us about it,” said Marco Valencia, Valencia’s father.
Valencia’s parents came to the United States from Jekelpan, Michoacan, Mexico in 1992. They were not both documented until six years ago when they obtained residency. According to Brian Valencia, it was difficult growing up with undocumented parents and he described it as “living in fear 24/7”.
“I would be very afraid that one day my parents would leave and that I would go home and they would not be there,” he said.
His father, Marco, says it was difficult to live without papers because he had to build relationships with people in order to find jobs that didn’t require social security like landscaping and construction.
Since they received the residency, Erica Valencia, mother of Brian Valencia, says she has been less stressed. She now has a driver’s license and is not afraid of being stopped by the police.
Brian Valencia is relieved to know that his parents will not be deported.
“Right now, I am very proud of my son for what he has accomplished,” said Erica Valencia. “There were days full of tears and nights of sleeping without eating to get here. We will always be here to support him with whatever he needs.”
Although its grand opening won’t be until spring next year, Valencia does host some events for the community.
On October 30, the local market hosts Puff and Carve’s Halloween Night. Another event that takes place daily from 12 noon to 9 pm is Puff & Paint for ages 21 and up. The event includes all paint and a free hemp joint for $25.