Families from Georgia gather for a group shot during a get together in June 2014. The families have moved to Colorado Springs to be able to legally use medical marijuana oil to treat their children for a variety of chronic illnesses. (Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Stanley brothers to expand cannabis oil production in Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado producers of a cannabis oil prized by some for treating children with severe epilepsy have come up with dramatic expansion plans to meet demand.

The Stanley brothers say they hope to eliminate their 12,000-person waitlist with a 2015 expansion. The Teller County brothers plan to expand from 40 acres to 200 acres growing the cannabis plant, which is considered hemp and not marijuana under Colorado regulations because it is low in marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC.

The Stanleys say they will be dramatically increasing production of an oil they call Charlotte’s Web, The Gazette reported Thursday. The oil is rich in cannabidiol, or CBD, a substance believed to provide relief for medical conditions such as epilepsy. It has been used by 500 people in Colorado and California.

Recently, 250 people were told they would soon start getting the oil. By the end of January, the brothers plan to supply the oil to about 3,500 people in Colorado and California, which would eliminate current wait lists in each state, Jesse Stanley told the newspaper.

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The new recipients include Tripp Oliver, 6, whose mother moved with him in April from Georgia to Colorado seeking the oil to help with grand mal seizures that hit him once or twice a week. “We have been waiting for this for so long,” said his mother, Laura Oliver.

Colorado voters in 2012 allowed the creation of a hemp industry when they approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use and sales.

The brothers were among the businesses approved by the Colorado Department of Agriculture to grow hemp for commercial or research and development purposes.

That licensure process allowed the Stanley brothers’ business to grow from a warehouse operation to a 40-acre cannabis field this year.

The brothers also want to plant in January a 50- to 60-acre crop in Uruguay. It could allow them to provide oil for about 9,000 people outside of Colorado and California who remain on their waiting list.

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Finished hemp is not illegal, though federal agriculture authorities have strict rules about hemp production because the plant can be manipulated to produce marijuana.

Hemp produced in Colorado cannot be shipped out of the state, said Duane Sinning, assistant director of plant industry with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

In contrast, hemp products often are imported from other countries, such as hemp seeds, soaps and even granola bars.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com