Cape Breton hemp oil company moving off-island due to production demands

Cape Breton hemp company, Highland Hemp has made plans to move its production off-shore due to their need for higher quantities.

“We need large acreages. And we don’t have that here,” said Park Rudderham, president of Highland Hemp

Rudderham remarked that his intention is to move the business off-shore and switch focus from the health food market to the pharmaceutical market.

Launched in 2016, the company grew hemp on about 25 hectares on Cape Breton, producing approximately 22,000 bottles of hemp seed oil to be distributed in mainly European markets—as a health food product. After initially making plans to hold information session with local farmers in the fall of 2017, Rudderham forfeited his plan when he realized the growing potential in a another hemp-based product, cannabidoil (CBD) oil—just like CBD gummies.

“In the last two years, CBD is just taking the pharmaceutical industry by storm,” said Rudderham to CBC News.

“Several pharmaceutical companies are doing research on CBD for pain and seizures,” he said.

Rudderham, who is also president of Pharmacy Wholesale Services, said that his original goal when entering the business of hemp was not to produce CBD oil.

“This was something that came about after. And, as when you’re developing any business, there are lots of twists and turns that present themselves,” he said.

“My main reason for getting involved was to try to do something here on Cape Breton Island, which is still our goal... but my DNA is not to pass opportunity.”

CBD oil sells for much more than hemp seed oil—at $5,000 to $8,000 per kilogram—and there’s a possibility to sell much larger quantities to a single buyer.

Last year, Highland Hemp landed a $14 million order from Brazil, but is currently working with a contractor to grow its new product on 400 hectare in Quebec, producing approximately 960 kilograms of CBD oil for sale to a German pharmaceutical manufacturer.

Rudderham also plans on moving the CBD crop to Manitoba in the next growing season, but he’s still keen on Cape-Breton-grown hemp seed oil.

“To be in Cape Breton, and to create this market in Cape Breton, and to use local farmers, that’s always been our goal. And we’ve got sidetracked,” he said.

“But I would be pleased to get back to that.”

He also noted that it’s not likely to happen until the 2019 growing season.

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