Company betting on hemp

A South Okanagan-based cannabis startup has announced the lease of a commercial greenhouse in the White Lake area for the production of industrial hemp.

Green Mountain Health Alliance is already building a cannabis production facility outside Kaleden off Highway 3A on company-owned ALR land. Green Mountain also holds an intent-to-lease on 98 acres of Penticton Indian Band land in Marron Valley.

The company says it plans on growing outdoor hemp on the Marron Valley property while using the greenhouse in White Lake for hemp cultivation and research and development on a “high CBD hemp strain.” Applications for an industrial hemp license at both locations are being reviewed by Health Canada.

“Health Canada has a relatively fast approval period for industrial hemp licenses, so we are looking forward to the potential of entering the market faster by growing hemp for cannabidiol (CBD) than with cannabis alone,” said Green Mountain president, Wade Attwood.

“CBD is in huge demand across the globe for its health benefits. The oil often retails for over $90/fl. oz. and it’s estimated that CBD consumer sales in the US will total around $1.15 billion by 2020, making this likely a highly profitable venture for Green Mountain.”

The company says it will selectively grow hemp with high CBD and almost no THC — the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. CBD is regarded to be behind many of medicinal benefits of cannabis.

“Currently, industrial hemp licenses only allow for cultivation of hemp strains located on the Industrial Hemp Approved Cultivars List, which are relatively low in CBD. Our company is working on researching and developing a high CBD hemp strain, far higher than what is on the market now,” Attwood said.

“If we complete the process to have this strain approved, this means far higher yield of CBD and incrementally higher ROI per acre than the strains that are currently available, which is great for Green Mountain’s bottom line.”

The company is also awaiting Health Canada approval for its under-construction facility off Highway 3A.

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