PEDCO voices support for hemp industry
A single hemp clone produced about 600 hemp plants inside a grow operation at Pueblo’s Airport Industrial Park.
Marc Brannigan, CEO of CBDRx, the first known medical hemp grow in Pueblo, said his company is farming hemp for CBD oil, not industrial use. Later this year, he expects to grow more than 100,000 hemp clones.
“CBD is a cannabinoid similar to THC, but doesn’t have the psychoactive effects,” Brannigan said.
Brannigan touts the medical benefits of CBD oil, including reducing inflammation and anxiety. Even though hemp contains THC, unlike marijuana, it has less than three-tenths of a percent of it.
“I truly believe that this industry is gonna be much larger, and be much more profitable and create many more jobs than the marijuana industry,” Brannigan said.
Brannigan began leasing a building at 310 Keeler Parkway from the Pueblo Development Foundation about two months ago. The Pueblo Economic Development Corporation (PEDCO) also leases space in the building.
The Boulder-based company is looking at expanding either its Pueblo or Boulder facility. If Brannigan chooses to expand in Pueblo, he said he’d be looking to hire between 100 to 200 people.
“Pueblo could be the epicenter for not only the marijuana but the hemp industry, which I truly believe is gonna be federally legal way before marijuana,” Brannigan said.
There are 14 hemp grows registered in Pueblo County, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
PEDCO vice president Jeff Shaw told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that the city’s biggest business recruiter supports the emerging industry.
“Hemp is very intriguing because it’s a new industry,” Shaw said. “It brings a lot of potential to it for what you can do with hemp from the pharmaceutical side, from the textile side, from some pretty wild ideas on the hemp side, but there’s a potential on the economic development side.”
Brannigan said he expects to decide within the next month where he’ll be expanding. He said some of the positions he’ll be looking to fill include lab technicians, farmers and scientists.