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Legal cannabis shop and bar is headed to Gay Street; Knoxvillians share their opinions

The Holistic Connection will offer cannabis-infused mocktails among a variety of other kinds of snacks made with legal THC.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In June, downtown Knoxville will have a new kind of business where people can try different kinds of legal THC and enjoy mocktails infused with cannabis-based THC. It will also have edible treats infused with THC.

Mike Solomon, the owner of The Holistic Connection, said he started the business with Amsterdam in mind. 

“You can come in, have a mocktail, and have a cannabis mocktail,” Solomon said. "You can enjoy a dab, have an edible and watch the football game.”

The business makes products using hemp-derived THC, which is legal in the state. It is similar to Delta 8 products, which are widely available in stores across the state.

The store has nine locations across Tennessee. The first in East Tennessee is expected to open in June on South Gay Street at Cumberland Avenue, selling crafted cannabis products. It's called a dab bar, and it is the first of its kind in Knoxville.

“Think about wine tasting or a wine bar, and when we say cannabis, we mean hemp-derived,” Solomon said.

While the products are legal, experts warned about using too much THC at once. It can cause anxiety if people are not in a comfortable area, and consistent cannabis use has been linked to depression and other kinds of mental illness.

However, researchers have not been able to tell for certain if marijuana use is the major cause of mental health issues among users. Some studies from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also said that cannabis use can cause people to perform worse on IQ tests.

Safety is the focus of The Holistic Connection, and Solomon said there is an age requirement along with a limit on consumption. He said that people will need to be at least 21 years old to enter the dab bar, and budtenders at the bar will be able cut people off similar to how bartenders can cut people off if they drink too much.

Those who participate in on-site consumption should not drive afterward. 

It is illegal to drive a car while under the influence of marijuana. On just your first offense of driving under the influence in Tennesee, you'll receive a misdemeanor. You could also face jail time, get your license revoked, receive fines and be required to enter a drug and alcohol treatment program. 

People can book a reservation at the dab bar at other locations and use it with sunlit spaces, free WiFi and other amenities. People can also try different strains of THC through vaporizers.

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