Happy Herb Company founder slams chemical highs

WHAT began as a simple philosophy and accessible product skyrocketed into an international franchise for Ray Thorpe.

The founder of the Happy Herb Company stopped in at his Gladstone store on Monday, on a whirlwind tour of the Queensland franchises.

Mr Thorpe said a lack of information had surrounded his store since 1996, but it would not taint the success of his products.

"I started in 1996 as a market store in a town suffering badly from drug abuse problems," he said.

"That's what inspired me and drives me to this day. My ultimate purpose is to get people off drugs, to improve their health and show them natural alternatives exist."

Mr Thorpe operates a business constantly and highly regulated since the rise of synthetic drugs.

He said the development of synthetic substances tarnished the business name initially.

However, the integrity of his products had ensured longevity and success.

"We began as Happy High Herbs when 'high' was still a cute word," he said.

"The word 'high' is now synonymous with dangerous and harmful, which led to our rebranding. The only non-natural stuff we stock is the plastic our products are contained in."

Damiana was the herb where it all began, Mr Thorpe said, and he aimed to have a naturopath or herbalist in each one of his 53 stores, including the seven in America.

He is a firm believer that for every ailment known to man, there is a common and effective natural remedy.

Since the notorious rise of synthetic products sold over the internet, sex stores and some tobacconists, he vehemently opposes the ideology of chemically laced highs.

Topics:  gladstone synthetic drugs

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