GRANVILLE COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) – Farmers are growing cannabis in central North Carolina and preparing to make big bucks from it.
Hemp is making its impact on the state.
“I know the tobacco industry consumption is declining and we were just looking for an alternative crop,” said Jimmy Crews. He has been farming since 1984 and started growing cannabis last year. He’s one of 140 farmers partnering with Isolera Extracts.
The company will take the hemp farmers grow and either process it for them, or simply buy it.
“We pay the farmers for their crops. We’re basically the end outlet to the farmer, and then we turn around and sell our products into the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical worlds,” said managing partner Jack Tatum.
The company held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday in Oxford, knowing it’s a central location for farmers.
“What we didn’t know is the way that the red carpet would be rolled out for us,” Tatum said.
The building was once a manufacturing facility.
In December, legislators passed the 2018 farm bill that allows people to grow and profit from hemp.
Tatum said for years, legislators confused hemp with marijuana, also cannabis.
“Hemp has no mind-altering effects but can have a number of medicinal benefits that we’re starting to learn about. We weren’t able to research it previously because it was still classified as a Schedule I drug until just December this past year,” he said.
Hemp can be used for several products like lotions, food, and clothes. Farmers have many options.
“What we are growing for is the CBD and also fiber and seeds and what else we can possibly get into,” Crews said.
The company plans to open phase two in a few months, allowing the number of pounds of hemp processed each day to go from 600 to at least 6,000.