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NC hemp processing facility is largest in western hemisphere

SPRING HOPE, N.C. (WNCN) - Hemp is already one of the fastest growing industries in the country.

That despite it being on the list of controlled substances.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he wants to change that and will be talking to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"It looks like it, it smells like it,” Bruce Perlowin, the CEO of HEMP Inc. said.

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But it’s not marijuana, its hemp. 

While hemp and marijuana are the same species, hemp has a negligible amount of THC, meaning it won’t get you high.

Truckloads of hemp have become the norm at HEMP Inc.’s processing facility in Spring Hope. 

They used to process sweet potatoes at the facility. 

Perlowin said four years and $20 million later, it’s become the largest hemp processing facility in the Western Hemisphere.

Perlowin and his crew showed CBS 17 around the processing facility, explaining how different strains of hemp are used. 

"It shreds it up into very small particles, smaller than one inch. From there it exits up the incline conveyer and drops into the first stage of our milling operation,” David Schmitt, the COO of that facility said.

The end result, this powder used in drilling.

Schmitt said that a larger particle size is used for absorbing oil following a spill.

They also extract CBD oil. 

"We're just making a handful of products here out of hemp. There are over 25,000 products that can be made from hemp,” David Schmitt, the COO Industrial Hemp Manufacturing, LLC said.

Fourth generation farmer Tony Finch just started growing hemp last year. 

"We had kind of been pushed back out of tobacco contracts, so we were needing another crop to make money, to stay in the farming business,” Finch said.

Perlowin applauded McConnell’s call to have hemp removed from the list of controlled substances. Hemp production is legal in North Carolina but only as part of a pilot program. 

"It'll be a boon for North Carolina, it'll be a boon for America,” Perlowin said.

McConnell said he’ll be meeting with Sessions.

He said he’ll stress that while hemp and marijuana are the same species, hemp has a negligible amount of THC, meaning it won’t get you high.

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