This year, anyone following the hemp and cannabis industries has had the opportunity to witness history in the making. With the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, each step in the progression of the hemp industry is a milestone. Today, hemp-based business is big business and proliferating.
With the birth of a new industry, we have witnessed a rebirth in American agriculture and hope for struggling farmers. However, agriculture isn’t the only industry to benefit. From repurposing vacated storefronts to redesigning abandoned industrial buildings into indoor grow facilities or massive hemp processing operations, cannabis and hemp are providing jobs and revitalizing their communities.
Two weeks ago, we reported on Paragon Processing in southern Colorado, a hemp processing mega center which will store and process up to 3 million pounds of hemp into crude oil, as well as refined, finished products. Their operation not only revived a 250,000 square foot warehouse, but the company also plans to hire more than 200 people by the end of the year.
Amazingly, this is just the start of the surge of energy coming from hemp legalization. A surge that will not only include real estate, manufacturing, science and technology, security, eCommerce, and retail, but it will impact the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, beauty and skincare, sports medicine, food and beverage, and even pet care industries.
Mile High Labs: A Front Runner in CBD Innovation
Last week, we traveled north to Broomfield, Colorado, to attend Mile High Labs’ grand opening and ribbon-cutting event, where the town Mayor, Randy Ahrens, and Colorado Governor, Jared Polis, joined in the ceremony to welcome the company to the community. Speaking to a broad audience in attendance at the event, both community leaders praised Mile High Labs for their venture and leadership into the brave new industry.
Additionally, Governor Polis officially declared October 8th, “Mile High Labs Day” in the state of Colorado in honor of the company’s contribution.
Taking over an old Novartis/Sandoz pharmaceutical manufacturing facility, the company now has 400,000 square feet for product innovation and company growth. Planning to use the building for research and development, as well as manufacturing and shipping, the company also anticipates adding another 100 people to their roster to run the massive operation.
Stephen Mueller, company founder and CEO, recalled the beginnings of the company when it was an employee of one, him. He spoke with a sense of reserved pride as he talked of their growth and future plans for the massive, well-equipped real estate investment.
After the ribbon-cutting, a tour of the building unveiled a never-ending maze of specialized, clean manufacturing and packaging rooms, vast storage spaces, and a range of manufacturing equipment which will allow the company to ramp up production very quickly. Additionally, the building provides space for administrative staff as well as quality assurance and laboratory testing facilities, which will be moving to the new facility soon.
Mile High Labs is creating a path for CBD normalization through self-governance and regulation, which anticipates the stringent requirements of federal authorities. Designed for the pharmaceutical industry, Mile High Labs not only acquired a building designed explicitly with GMP in mind, but they also received all the necessary equipment to develop and manufacture clean, consistent products, compliant with any FDA requirements established in the future. Mueller boasted that the company plans to offer the safest, most consistent CBD products available on the market.
Mile High Labs offers a wide range of private label products, including tinctures, soft gels, topicals, and gummies. Additionally, the company also offers bulk products for manufacturers, which include CBD isolate, THC-free distillate, water-soluble, broad-spectrum liquids, and bulk tinctures in a variety of formulas, flavors, and strengths.
The Future’s So Bright
As our knowledge and understanding of hemp continue to expand, so does the potential of the crop. Even beyond cannabinoid production, factor in the possibility of industrial hemp for plastics, biofuels, fiber, hempcrete, and other material goods, and we have an industrial, environmental, and economic revolution just around the corner. It certainly seems that the era of information has led us to the age of hemp.
The same week as Mile High Labs grand opening, we also attended the CBD Expo Mountain in Denver. As I walked the aisles exploring the never-ending rows of products and admiring the incredible innovation, I couldn’t help but be amazed at the vast entrepreneurial spirit generated by this new industry. Seeing the contribution that hemp is already making to our economy, I envision a world of potential in a reasonably regulated CBD market. Maybe the most encouraging revelation comes when we remind ourselves, this is just year one. We are quite literally at ground zero at a historical juncture in an industry which can impact nearly every facet of our lives. And CBD is only one molecule in a spectrum of hundreds.