A ladybug traverses a hemp plant growing in a private plot in Boulder County in 2014. (Elana Ashanti Jefferson, The Cannabist)

Farm-to-store hemp: Colorado biz envisions ambitious product array

A farm-to-store hemp operation is sprouting in Longmont.

Boulder Hemp Farm is poised to break ground on a piece of property just outside city limits on St. Vrain Road, after securing $300,000 from a handful of private investors.

“We’re going to be starting turning the dirt this week,” said co-founder and local activist Shane Davis.

Davis, the company’s president, was joined by Shadi Ramey (vice president) in founding Boulder Hemp Farm. Denver developer Michael Vickers is also on board, serving as CEO.

The trio has big plans for their hemp-ire, including growing the crop and manufacturing products on-site.

The company’s merchandise will include “the usual suspects,” Davis said — “food, fuel and fiber.”

But the first of the hemp crop will end up in the medicine cabinet: Oils, tinctures and capsules containing oil rich in cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound touted for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.

Sales of CBD-infused products were projected to reach $85 million in 2015, according to a November report from Boulder-based Hemp Business Journal. Local company CBDRx last year harvested 50,000 pounds of hemp specifically bred for quality CBD.

Boulder Hemp Farm hopes to move into other hemp by products in the future, including clothing and hempcrete, a building material.

The once-illegal crop has made a resurgence across the U.S., with eight states defining it as an agricultural product. Colorado leads the way in production, with 2,000 acres grown in 2015, or 51 percent of the national acreage.

It was the plant’s numerous potential uses and sustainability that attracted Davis, a longtime anti-fracking activist who ran Fracktivist.org. An especially hardy species, hemp grows fast and needs less water and fewer pesticides than cotton.

“Just looking at the sheer diversity of it, hemp can be used in thousands of things,” Davis said, replacing more resource-intensive materials in everything from T-shirts to granola bars.

“It’s a natural transition to go from fighting the fossil fuel industry” to growing hemp.

Shay Castle: 303-473-1626, castles@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/shayshinecastle

This story was first published on DailyCamera.com