Colorado Springs employers adapt to COVID-19

The latest unemployment figures stand as a stark reminder of how much we’re all hurting.

On April 2, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced that 61,583 initial unemployment claims were filed the week ending March 28.

For perspective: That’s eight times the number of claims filed the week ending Jan. 9, 2010, the peak period for unemployment filings during the Great Recession. Across the country, about 10 million Americans lost their jobs during the third and fourth weeks of March and applied for unemployment benefits, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Labor Department.

To survive through a time when leaving the house on all but essential errands is banned, the businesses driving our local economy must learn to navigate uncharted waters.

Those remaining open have found ways to stay afloat — some by holding steady, and others by steering into unfamiliar territory. Here are just a few examples.

 

Collaborating on child care

MyVillage, a network of home-based child care providers in Colorado and Montana, has tried to make sure its affiliates keep getting paid as some parents take their kids out of care, says co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey. The company raised emergency grant funding to help cover provider income lost due to coronavirus-related concerns.

MyVillage is also part of the Colorado Emergency Child Care Collaborative, a public-private partnership providing free child care for qualifying essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the collaborative — a partnership between the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and Gary Community Investments, supported by Centura Health and the Buell Foundation — qualifying parents can get their child care tuition paid through May 17.

Alyssa Schewibish, a new provider with MyVillage in Colorado Springs who lost customers in March, says she has two families starting care with her thanks to that initiative, which launched March 30. She’ll be caring for children of a police officer and a veterinarian.

Schewibish, who has her own 6-month-old, says she’s taking precautions against COVID-19 in her home-based business.

“I sanitize everything that they play with throughout the day,” she says.

Meanwhile, the Garden Ranch YMCA in Colorado Springs announced it’s providing child care for children ages 5 through 12 between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. weekdays. Medical providers, emergency workers and essential personnel automatically qualify for 50 percent off tuition through April 30.

Home health still hiring

While some larger training programs for certified nurse assistants, or CNAs, may not be able to hold classes in person, local nonprofit The Independence Center wants prospective students to know it’s still holding training sessions.

“Our limit has always been 10 students, and so … we’ve rearranged the classroom and so forth, and we can still accept up to nine people and still have that social distancing aspect,” says Indy Frazee, home health administrator for the Center, which serves people with disabilities.

The next four-week CNA training class begins May 4, Frazee says.

Heart to Heart CNA Academy has been able to keep offering classes, too, according to owner and instructor Priscilla Williams. The company — which typically trains no more than 10 people at once — is further limiting class sizes until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Williams says.

The Independence Center is also hiring CNAs, personal care attendants and personal care workers/homemakers for its own home health agency.

For people who may have recently lost an income source, caregiving may be a good option, Frazee says. Attendants and care workers don’t need a state-issued certification.

Pandemic or no, these kinds of workers are always in high demand, Frazee explains, as the work “can be taxing” and turnover rates are high.

Interim HealthCare is another local health care company with open positions for personal care workers, CNAs, registered nurses and more. Right at Home is also looking for CNAs and homemakers to help seniors and adults who have disabilities. (See box below for more opportunities for job seekers.)

From hemp to hand sanitizer

Hemp Depot — a Denver-based company that bottles CBD products at a facility in Colorado Springs — has switched over 20 percent of its manufacturing capacity to making hand sanitizer, says Andy Rodosevich, the company’s co-founder and CEO.

“Step one was, ‘Hey, there’s this crisis — how can we help?’ and step two was, ‘How can we ensure that we’re not one of the companies that are closing their doors and laying off our employees?” Rodosevich says.The sanitizer, marketed under the Tru Organics brand and sold in 2-ounce spray bottles, can be purchased from CBD retailers or directly from Hemp Depot’s website. The company also secured a contract to make hand sanitizer for Denver’s Regional Transportation District.

The CBD company — which usually doesn’t bottle flammable products — had to purchase some new equipment, but was able to work with its existing suppliers to make that happen fairly quickly, Rodosevich says: “We were able to go from concept to shipping products within seven days.”

Hemp Depot’s not the only company switching production capacity to making hand sanitizer. Liquor manufacturers including Lee Spirits and Axe and the Oak Distillery can use byproducts from the spirit-making process as an ingredient in sanitizer formulas.

3D printing PPE

On March 15, the Pikes Peak Library District announced it would close its facilities to the public until further notice. But it’s been able to use its resources to help health care workers.

Several of the 3D printers at Library 21c, which can normally be reserved by the public to use at a low cost, are now churning out face shield parts for Make4Covid, a group working to supply 3D-printed personal protective equipment, or PPE, to rural hospitals.

The printers — and the work — have been moved to the homes of library patrons experienced with 3D printing, says Dustin Booth, PPLD’s Knights of Columbus Hall manager.

PPLD also has about two dozen sewing machines at various locations, which will be distributed to staff so they can help make face masks at home, says Chief Librarian and CEO John Spears.

Though library facilities are closed, staff is keeping busy, Spears says. PPLD has moved all of its programming (such as story times and craft lessons) online, and new call transfer technology will allow library staff to answer patrons’ questions from home.

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Article: Colorado Springs employers adapt to COVID-19, Colorado Springs Indy

Hemp Depot Pivots Production, Starts Making Hand Sanitizer Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

Hemp Depot produces hemp CBD wholesale, but as COVID-19 became a pandemic, wholesale orders dropped rapidly, thus creating a need for CEO Andy Rodosevich to keep his staff employed.

This is when he realized that, with some quick changes, he could achieve this goal while also helping respond to the nationwide need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

In seven days, Hemp Depot adapted its production facility to start manufacturing hand sanitizer and found the most urgent need for large quantities with the Colorado government agency operating public transportation, RTD (Regional Transportation District).

“Our chemists quickly shifted gears to create a non-drying hand sanitizer while we rebuilt part of our manufacturing operation to support creating hand sanitizer in quantities great enough to support the nationwide need,” Rodosevich told Benzinga. “In seven days we shifted 20% of production to hand sanitizer in individual and bulk options, supplying government, private businesses, and consumers as we all work to get through these unprecedented times together.”

Colorado’s Regional Transportation District, more commonly referred to as RTD, is the regional agency operating public transit services in eight out of the twelve counties in the Denver-Aurora-Boulder area in Colorado. RTD ordered 2,000 bottles to provide a personal bottle for employees with refill pump gallons back at the office, and 55-gallon drum refills to keep those supplied.

“We’ve been seeing orders on our website from all over the U.S. for personal and family use, but also a lot of people buying quantities to donate to essential employees in need. Businesses have also been placing orders that want to provide a supply of sanitizer to their customers at a fair price, especially those still open to physical traffic such as grocery, hardware, and home and garden stores,” Rodosevich concluded.

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Article: Hemp Depot Pivots Production, Starts Making Hand Sanitizer Amid COVID-19 Outbreak,  Yahoo Finance

Why RTD turned to a hemp company when its suppliers fell short

When the Regional Transportation District needed hand sanitizer for its 3,060 employees, and its regular suppliers couldn’t come through, the agency turned to an unexpected source: Hemp Depot.

RTD ordered 2,000 2-ounce spray bottles of hand sanitizer from the Denver-based hemp grower and CBD manufacturer last Thursday, March 26. By Monday, the transportation administrator had received 1,000 of them. The rest is on the way, along with 100 1-gallon bulk refill containers. Fifty-five-gallon drums may be next.

“Obviously right now we’re dealing with a pandemic, and getting PPE [personal protective equipment] is very, very hard right now,” RTD spokesperson Laurie Huff told Denver Business Journal. “My colleagues tell me they contacted dozens of companies, and of those dozens, they have successfully been able to get product from six. … It’s hard because everybody obviously wants this stuff right now.”

Hemp Depot’s pivot to manufacturing hand sanitizer in addition to its bread-and-butter products like CBD capsules, gummies and drinks may seem out of character, and it did require some adjusting of logistics, according to co-founder and CEO Andy Rodosevich. But now, during a time of wary consumer sentiment and slowing wholesale orders, hand sanitizer is making up 20% of the company’s revenue.

“We were able to go from an idea to a product ready for retail sell in seven days,” Rodosevich told DBJ. That meant turning to the company’s in-house scientist to whip up a recipe, designing and attaining packaging, and making adjustments on the production floor.

Extracting CBD from hemp requires isopropyl alcohol, the same active ingredient in hand sanitizer, so the company already had an in with a supplier where other businesses have struggled to gain a foothold, Rodosevich said. Because of alcohol’s extremely flammable nature, the adjustments mostly involved upgrading and changing pumping equipment so as not to spark a fire.

Looking to help

Hemp Depot, which ranked No. 1 in the “Small” category in DBJ’s Fast 50, wanted to do something to help as the nation faces shortages of PPE due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it wasn’t well situated to manufacture things like face masks or ventilators. Hand sanitizer, however, is something Rodosevich saw as a natural fit.

“We are a liquids-filling company,” he said. “Pretty much everything we do is filling stuff with liquids.”

An added bonus: The company hasn’t had to lay any workers off or implement furloughs.

“There’s millions getting laid off across the country, and the CBD industry has not come to a grinding halt, but it definitely has slowed,” Rodosevich said. “When you have an economic situation like this, with people out of work, they immediately eliminate the things they don’t need.”

That could mean multivitamins, he said, or CBD products.

“Our online retail web sales are probably only down maybe 10%,” Rodosevich explained, adding that wholesale orders are down as much as 40%. Some of that downturn is attributable to the mangled supply chain out of China which was the first nation hit with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. One $500,000 order Hemp Depot received, he said, is contingent upon vending machines being shipped from the Asian giant.

The Hemp Depot-made hand sanitizer made under its Tru Organics brand, however, is highly successful. Its high-end packaging is not only in the pockets of a third of RTD’s employees — it’s also featured prominently on Hemp Depot’s homepage, where Rodosevich says it’s sold more than 10,000 units at a retail price of $3.99 (wholesale is $2 per unit). He said he’s shipping outside Colorado’s borders and is fulfilling a sizeable shipment to Nevada.

The sanitizer contains vitamin E and aloe, but it does not contain CBD itself.

“It’s a great product, but not as conducive to CBD,” Rodosevich said. “And we didn’t want to make it gimmicky.”

RTD looks to nontraditional partners

“We didn’t have a need for something like this until three weeks ago,” RTD’s Huff said, explaining that they would purchase small amounts of hand sanitizer for events. “… We’re not in the habit of buying mass quantities of stuff like this.”

But it’s not just hand sanitizer the agency needs — like most frontline agencies, it’s also looking for sanitizing wipes and N95 respirators, or face masks, which have been tested and recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

“Getting this stuff in the hands of the employees at our company who need it is a priority, ” Huff said.

Workers like bus operators and and cleaners are considered frontline employees, she said, and most exposed to public areas and interactions. RTD has distributed more than 1,000 N95 masks to its workers, who are allowed (but not mandated) to wear them. 5,000 more have been ordered but aren’t scheduled to arrive until the end of April. RTD also provides gloves, bleach and disinfectant spray to its employees, who are cleaning and sanitizing vehicles between trips and at end-of-line stations.

“There are essential employees who are working very hard every day to deliver a service to the public that has never been more important,” Huff said.

And if it takes an unorthodox partner like Hemp Depot to make sure it can safely fulfill its mission, RTD seems ready to embrace it.

“We are used to, as an agency, getting creative and thinking about potentially nontraditional ways of finding solutions to the issues in front of us,” Huff said.

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Article: Why RTD turned to a hemp company when its suppliers fell short, Denver Business Journal

Short list of GMP-certified cannabis companies fighting a larger battle for industry legitimacy

Interest in the Cannabis Manufacturer of the Year category in the Colorado Manufacturing Awards is heightened this year by a fascinating convergence of storylines.

Federal legalization aside, the most intriguing may well be the impact that new FDA regulations will have on the industry. The common theme that binds the 2020 CMA finalists is preparedness: All have set a course toward manufacturing safer, more highly tested products. If there’s any certainty in the FDA’s pronouncements, it’s that cannabis will be held to higher standards already required of their food and pharmaceutical counterparts.

Here are the Colorado finalists for Cannabis Manufacturer of the Year:

Hemp Depot, Colorado Springs

Medically Correct, Denver

Stillwater Brands, Denver

The effort to elevate the industry comes at an important time. For one, pro-cannabis legislators and lobbyists continue to struggle to move the needle on sorely needed outcomes like banking. A change in tactics would seem a good idea.

The push to raise industry standards fits the bill — a means to build trust in a landscape that today sorely lacks it.

Last summer, I wrote:

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, alluded to manufacturing’s role in moving cannabis into the mainstream in a Washington Post article last week. In suggesting a path forward for the agency relating to CBD, Gottlieb wrote: 

“In the meantime, the FDA could exercise enforcement discretion to allow CBD to be marketed in food so long as the products meet certain conditions. These criteria can include meeting good manufacturing requirements, demonstrating traceability, adhering to safe levels for the purity and potency of the CBD being added, and demonstrating that CBD is being added to food products only in very low concentrations that are unlikely to pose health risks.”

The leading cannabis manufacturers are taking note. Some are operating on par with food and drug companies. One difference is that while many claim to operate in compliance with best practices, fewer are documenting their progress. It’s a crucial step.

GMP certification — Gottlieb’s “good manufacturing requirements” — is a good example. GMP, or Good Manufacturing Practice, is “a set of ever-evolving standards that have the force of law in guiding food and pharmaceutical production in the U.S. and other countries.” (Read CompanyWeek Editor Eric Peterson’s “Certification Primer: GMP.”)

THC and hemp cannabis companies can achieve GMP certification today, but our research suggests only a handful of companies in the U.S. have reached the high bar of certification. More have completed a GMP audit or inspection — usually a one-time evaluation that identifies corrective action to be audited again in the subsequent certification process – in operations that are monitored on an ongoing basis.

GMP audits are only a step along the path to certification. Landing on the registry of certified companies is a must for established food and pharma companies. It’s likely the same will be the case for cannabis manufacturers, and a good bet that a trust gap will persist for the industry until it’s leading brands are certified and registered.

Here’s the Cannabis Manufacturing Report‘s list of cannabis companies with documented, registered GMP certification. It’s a short list:

Charlotte’s Web, Boulder, Colorado

Products: Hemp oils; CBD products

Type: NSF Dietary Supplements GMP Registration

Hemp Depot, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Products: Hemp seeds and oils; CBD products

Type: NSF Dietary Supplements GMP Registration

Mile High Labs, Broomfield, Colorado

Products: CBD and hemp extracts

Type: SGS Good Manufacturing Practice Certification/ISO 9001:2015 certification


Among those with GMP audits:

Bluebird Botanicals, Loiusville, Colorado

Products: Hemp extracts

Type: Eurofins GMP audit/GMP for Dietary Supplements audit

Commonwealth Extracts, Louisville, Kentucky

Products: Hemp oils; CBD products

Type: AIB International GMP Audit

Stillwater Brands, Commerce City, Colorado

Products: THC- and CBD-infused beverages and edibles

Type: Eurofins Dietary Supplements GMP Audit


List your operational benchmarks including GMP audits and certifications here and send us a note with documentation. We’ll follow up.  Our goal is to provide companies an opportunity to showcase all sourcing and manufacturing-related achievements, from farming to product and ingredient testing to manufacturing operations. Those companies traveling the last, tough mile deserve the recognition.

Consumers need it, regulators and new business partners demand it, and progress requires it.

Bart Taylor is publisher of CompanyWeek. Contact him at btaylor@companyweek.com.

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Article: Short list of GMP-certified cannabis companies fighting a larger battle for industry legitimacy, Company Week

Encouraging Brainstorming: 13 Ways To Help Team Members Connect

Your team members can be your greatest source of inspiration. Having a solid group of creative, hardworking individuals contributing their ideas often produces beautiful results for a business. However, people must make a conscious effort to collaborate with, and learn from, each other.

To initiate these productive discussions, good communication is key. Below, members of Forbes Business Council share their preferred methods for helping team members connect, either with leaders or with peers, and brainstorm.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS

1. Team Communication Platforms

Online team communication tools like Slack and project management tools like Basecamp can help bring teams from different geographical areas together for brainstorming and other project-related tasks. They are being used by both the largest companies as well as startups and keep the log of all communications between the team members. – Syed GilaniSafr Technologies Inc

2. In-Person Meetings

I think a meeting of the minds, with the entire team present, is crucial when trying to alleviate in-house issues. When people are brainstorming together they feed off of each other’s ideas and reach better conclusions on how to solve them. – Hoda MahmoodzadeganBAḴT Global

3. A 20-Minute Meeting With A Clear Brainstorming Agenda

I like to allocate a 20-minute meeting slot with the team and send them an agenda for brainstorming. It may or may not be relevant to their core job but as long as they are committed to the vision and growth of the company, I trust in their ability to contribute to anything that helps the company grow. We follow through with a goal setting, idea list and collaborate to streamline the next steps. – Neha KesarwaniVertoe

4. Team Lunch

I touch base with my team members on a regular basis and we will bounce off a couple of ideas back and forth. This really just gets the ball rolling, but it’s in the monthly team meetings when we sit down to discuss where some of the ideas take shape or become concrete. Generally, collaboration works best because it brings about different perspectives. – Brian ChewOC Wills & Trust Attorneys

5. Email Threads

When looking for ideas or brainstorming, email is a powerful tool that transforms decent ideas into great ones. Sending an email to the appropriate team members creates a visual thread for everyone to view someone’s perspective and point of view. The email thread goes from being a question to a group to a solid and creative idea put together by many minds building off of each other. – Benjamin ElzweigActive Staffing Services

6. Getting Out Of The Office (And The Routine)

Having a boring meeting at the office leads to zero innovation. You have to do something different. You need to get out of the office. Jump around, listen to crazy music, break the traditional habits and patterns that shape your thinking. You must lead the way in doing silly things like jumping jacks or dancing around. This is how you truly open up creative thinking in your team. – Matt BodnarFresh Capital Group

7. Audio Files

Most valuable insights strike when you aren’t planning for them, meaning you’re away from your desk and unable to stop, drop and write. Apps like Voxer and Whatsapp make it easy to verbally process these ideas with your team on the spot while they are still fresh in your mind. The audio files can be easily saved, transcribed, and filed for use on current and future projects. – Sara IntonatoSaraYoga

8. Spreading The Brainstorm Out Over Three Days

Our best brainstorm outcomes happen when we chop the brainstorm session in half and give everyone a break of one to two days in between. When we brainstorm in this way, the final day conversations often overflow with new insights because everyone has time to break away, think from different angles and sleep on it, and a bigger-picture perspective or new opportunities often are the outcome. – Andy RodosevichHemp Depot

9. A ‘Light’ Business Model Canvas

When brainstorming new businesses, projects, products and solutions, I utilize the Business Model Canvas to bring a group through a brainstorming session. It’s organized simply and easy to follow, hits on critical planning elements required by most projects, and allows for a comprehensive team and cross-team collaboration. – Lauren CooneySpark Labs

10. Engaging In Physical Activity Together

When reaching out to team members in search of new ideas, the best method to stir up a positive brainstorming session is to do so while conducting a fun activity. Activities such as biking, hiking, paintball or a team sport usually bring out the competitive spirit and thought-provoking endorphins, and as such the ideas have a tendency to start flowing. It’s also a great team-building tool! – George CsahiouniSwoop Business Solutions

11. Asking For Anonymous Feedback

When truly looking for new ideas or brainstorming, it’s important that contributors in lower levels of the organization don’t feel that because their position is lesser that their ideas have less value and power. Not so! To alleviate this, create an environment of anonymity—have everyone write their idea on paper, without their name, and place it in a box to draw from for discussion. – Bruce MaxwellMSI Management and Consulting Services, Inc

12. Asking One-On-One First

Leaders need to ensure all voices get heard. I like to meet one-to-one with people and approach them with the comment, “I have some ideas that I would like to run by you and would appreciate your perspectives on them.” You’ll likely get more candid feedback from them. Great leaders know how to draw people out and demonstrate that contributions are valued. – David CreanObjective Capital Partners, LLC

13. Looking Beyond Your Immediate Team

Sometimes it really pays off to ask others within your organization who are not within your team to get a lot more types of ideas. Your team members might have very biased and traditional ideas. This is why some marketing companies conduct surveys with the public. Think outside the box! – Deniz DoganayDigital Debut

 

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Article: Encouraging Brainstorming: 13 Ways To Help Team Members Connect,  Forbes

Hemp Depot Slashes Feminized Hemp Seed Prices By 70%

On Tuesday, Hemp Depot announced that it is making a dramatic shift in the pricing of CBD-rich seeds to increase the economic viability and profitability of hemp farming for U.S. farmers. Hemp Depot is among the largest wholesale providers of the highest quality CBD oil products, seeds, and clones in the United States.

Hemp Depot has developed a new process that is innovative and proprietary, which is used to create high volumes of feminized CBD seeds. These seeds produce a CBD-rich crop, and they will sold to farmers at an affordable price, which is 70% lower than the current market prices for seeds that are less productive. The farmers are the ones to benefits because they are provided with an economically viable solution that allows them to increase production and maximize profit per acre.

The CEO and Co-Founder of Hemp Depot, Andy Rodosevich, said that currently, farmers pay an average of 30% of their profits when buying CBD seeds, which is more than twice the average cost of seeds for any other agricultural crops, such as corn. The farmers are also at risk of purchasing CBD seeds that are not feminized at the right ratio of CBD to THC; thus, their crops may end up not producing the correct CBD to THC ratio. Hemp Depot has made these challenges a thing of the past as they have created CBD-rich seed.

Hemp Depot has eliminated the likelihood of the crop being hot because of bad seeds. They have contracted with Phyllos and Botanacore Labs, which conduct tests on genetics and potency, respectively. Both labs conclude that the seeds are 98% feminized with a CBD to THC ration of 26:1.

Rodosevich further said that their feminized CBD seeds are programmed to revolutionize the amount of CBD the farmers produce; thus, creating a promising way to generate more income. He also noted that farming requires a lot of labor, and a bad year can either make or break your business. Hemp Depot developed the feminized seed to provide farmers with an economically viable solution, which would enable them to generate the highest proceeds per acre.

The announcement of the innovative seed production and pricing coincides with the company’s sales setting the record for the year. Rodosevich further said that the company’s sales in January exceeded all of the 2019 sales, which shows that 2020 is already on the path for record earnings.

Luke Pickering, the co-founder of Hemp Depot, said that the development of feminized seed priced affordably would be vital to farmers as it would help in fine-tuning their business models. Farmers would now be paying 30 cents per seed yet previously, they were paying $1 per seed. The difference would make a significant difference in their savings. Pickering further said that hemp farmers are facing a multitude of challenges, and now the farmers will benefit from the breakthrough in seed production and pricing.

Hemp Deport was awarded the certificate for Current GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) for manufacturing and storing CBD, making it the first CBD firm to earn one. Hemp Depot specializes in seed genetics, harvesting, formulating, planting, wholesaling, and retailing cannabis for CBD for human beings and pets under white labels.

Analysts are convinced that hemp industry actors like MCTC Holdings Inc. (OTC: MCTC) and Dama Financial welcome the more affordable hemp seeds which will lower the operational costs for farmers.

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Article: Hemp Depot Slashes Feminized Hemp Seed Prices By 70%, Hemp Wire News

Hemp Depot Redefines U.S. CBD Farming Economics With 70% Reduction in Feminized Seed Pricing

U.S. CBD seed is now comparable in cost and safety to U.S. corn market. After engineering an innovative, proprietary new process to create high volumes of feminized CBD seeds, Hemp Depot has produced an economically viable solution that allows farmers to boost production and maximize profit per acre.

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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO –– February 4, 2020 –– Hemp Depot, one of the largest wholesale providers of the highest-quality hemp CBD oil products, seed, and clones in the U.S., today announces a dramatic shift in CBD-rich seed pricing to increase the economic viability and profitability of hemp farming for U.S. farmers.

Hemp Depot has engineered an innovative, proprietary new process to create high volumes of feminized CBD seeds, the seeds that produce CBD-rich crops, at a cost to farmers that is 70 percent lower than current market prices for less productive seeds. The net result is an economically viable solution that allows farmers to boost production and maximize profit per acre.

“CBD seeds currently cost farmers an average of 30% of profit, more than twice the average cost of seeds for traditional crops such as corn. Farmers also run the risk of the CBD seed they’re buying not being feminized at the right ratio and not being capable of producing high-potency CBD, as well as not producing the correct CBD to THC ratio,” said Andy Rodosevich, CEO and co-founder of Hemp Depot. “These concerns are a thing of the past for the American farmer with the new economics created by Hemp Depot’s CBD-rich seed pricing.”

Hemp Depot’s seed eliminates the potential for lost crops due to “bad seed” with genetic testing by Phyllos and potency tested by Botanacore Labs qualifying the seed as 98 percent feminized with a CBD to THC ratio of 26:1.

“Our feminized CBD seeds are set to revolutionize the amount of CBD farmers produce, creating a promising way to generate more revenue,” added Rodosevich. “We understand that farming is labor-intensive and that a bad year can make or break your business. That is why we’ve engineered our fem seeds to create the most economically viable solution for the farmer to generate the highest profit per acre.”

The announcement of the breakthrough in seed production and pricing comes on the heels of a record setting sales period for Hemp Depot. Rodosevich says 2020 is already on track for record earnings with the company reporting January sales exceeding all of the 2019 sales.

Hemp Depot Co-Founder Luke Pickering says the big break in feminized seed pricing can play a crucial role in helping farmers tweak their business models, “ They have been paying an average of $1 per seed for this type of CBD seed, and now they will be able to buy it for about 30 cents a seed. This savings will make a huge difference in the bottom line. “  Pickering points out that with the multiple agricultural variables hemp CBD farmers face, a relief in seed pricing will benefit growers across the board.

Pickering notes that Hemp Depot is one of the first CBD firms to earn the Current GMP Certifications for manufacturing and storing CBD.

 

About Hemp Depot

Hemp Depot provides the highest-quality hemp CBD oil, hemp seeds, and hemp clones in the U.S. Hemp Depot cannabinoid products deliver the highest degrees of purity and strength in the consumer and wholesale CBD market, with all products grown, formulated and processed in Hemp Depot’s facilities in Colorado. As one of the first cannabis industry companies awarded Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certification in compliance with FDA enforceable standards and one of the first 13 producers to be certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, Hemp Depot is one of the nation’s largest and most trusted hemp brands specializing in seed genetics, planting, harvesting, formulating, wholesaling, and retailing cannabis for CBD for humans and pets under a variety of best-selling labels as well as white labels. With a commitment to safety and purity guaranteed through third party testing, Hemp Depot offers a complete range of full-spectrum and 100% THC-free products at the best value. Passionate about clean, sustainable agriculture, water conservation and growing non-GMO, all-natural crops, Hemp Depot seeds generate the highest-value yield per acre and the highest-value for CBD per plant, while also maintaining the highest hemp seed inventory in the U.S. Visit www.hempdepotco.com for orders and more details.

Hemp Depot Receives One of the First GMP Certifications for Manufacturing and Storing CBD

Hemp Depot Manufacturing and Storing of CBD Tests 100% Safe and Pure

Hemp Depot, one of the largest wholesale providers of the highest-quality hemp CBD oil products, seed, and clones in the U.S., today announces it is one of the first companies to receive the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) certifications for manufacturing and storing CBD and CBD products.

Enforceable under the umbrella of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the GMP and cGMP certifications require that manufacturers, processors, and packagers take stringent and proactive steps to ensure that their products are safe, pure, and effective. cGMP certification ensures technologies and systems are up-to-date to comply with the regulation and that the correct systems and equipment are in place to prevent contamination and errors that affect consumers.

Following a rigorous 18-month process of reviews, inspections and upgrades specified by federal guidelines, Hemp Depot was cGMP certified in January 2020 by NSF International, including both manufacturing and storage, thereby covering all raw materials, manufacturing, and finished CBD products. The cGMP processes for CBD and all cannabis products are outlined in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Very few companies in the cannabis, hemp, and CBD industries have achieved the level of manufacturing precision and sophistication required to gain the certification.

Hemp Depot’s state-of-the-art facility and technologies were certified to be 100 percent compliant with regulation. The proper manufacturing and storing of CBD products is crucial to producing high-quality CBD and to protect consumer health.

“The Cannabinoid industry is widely unregulated when it comes to food safety and quality assurance. Becoming GMP Certified proves to your consumers that you are committed to the highest level of quality and prioritize maintaining the highest quality practices to protect them. GMP Certification is a critical distinction CBD brands need to have in place to prove they maintain the highest level of health and sanitation standards making your company’s products safer than those made without certification,” said Kimberly Stuck, CEO of Allay Consulting, LLC, an industry leader in CBD safety, regulation and compliance.

“FDA regulations for this industry will eventually be in place and GMP Certification is a good way to ensure you are ready for that level of regulation. Many companies will not be ready and when regulation kicks in, those companies will suffer the consequences of not being proactive, ” she said.

“Several CBD companies falsify GMP certification through a third-party audit company, which is not equivalent to GMP certification,” said Andy Rodosevich, CEO and co-founder of Hemp Depot. “Many CBD companies also claim to have GMP certification when they manufacture from a facility that was previously certified, however, their specific manufacturing process for CBD has never been certified, and that operation does not qualify as GMP certified. The GMP CBD certification process has only been available online for the last 45 days and Hemp Depot is among the first of only a handful of CBD firms to be awarded certification.”

Hemp Depot’s certification gives it a significant competitive advantage over companies mired in a tangled supply chain of manufacturers and distributors producing CBD products that cannot be guaranteed safe from seed to shelf. For instance, if a company purchases a seed or plant from another grower or wholesaler, the company selling the end product cannot guarantee that the entire manufacturing process was compliant and pure because the see was not GMP compliant, posing a possible risk to consumers. Growers and others in the supply chain that originates with Hemp Depot seed do not face that risk because they use seed produced in a facility and process certified to GMP standards.

Stuck added, “We are so proud of Hemp Depot for their accomplishment. It took time, dedication, and a lot of hard work to get the GMP Certification. Hemp Depot is now a GMP Certified facility with the capacity to be a leader in CBD industry and they truly deserve to be recognized. Allay Consulting was happy to assist Hemp Depot along the path of GMP compliance.”

About Hemp Depot

Hemp Depot provides the highest-quality hemp CBD oil, hemp seeds, and hemp clones in the U.S. Hemp Depot cannabinoid products deliver the highest degrees of purity and strength in the consumer and wholesale CBD market, with all products grown, formulated and processed in Hemp Depot’s facilities in Colorado. As one of the first cannabis industry companies awarded Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Certification in compliance with FDA enforceable standards and one of the first 13 producers to be certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, Hemp Depot is one of the nation’s largest and most trusted hemp brands specializing in seed genetics, planting, harvesting, formulating, wholesaling, and retailing cannabis for CBD for humans and pets under a variety of best-selling labels as well as white labels. With a commitment to safety and purity guaranteed through third party testing, Hemp Depot offers a complete range of full-spectrum and 100% THC-free products at the best value. Passionate about clean, sustainable agriculture, water conservation and growing non-GMO, all-natural crops, Hemp Depot seeds generate the highest-value yield per acre and the highest-value for CBD per plant, while also maintaining the highest hemp seed inventory in the U.S. Visit www.hempdepotco.com for orders and more details.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200203005720/en/

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Article: Hemp Depot Receives One of the First GMP Certifications for Manufacturing and Storing CBD, Yahoo Finance

Co-founder and CEO Andy Rodosevich oversees an all-in-one hemp-CBD enterprise by emphasizing best practices in manufacturing.

If someone wants to buy office supplies, there’s a mega-outlet with “Depot” in its name that suits the task. And then, of course, there’s another “Depot” that sells tools and building materials. But Hemp Depot’s mission is to make its CBD-rich seeds and oil-based products available to the masses — farmers, individual consumers, and outside manufacturers and companies.

“I don’t know any [other] company that’s majorly scaled to produce seed, and then scaled to produce a million pounds-plus of biomass on an annual basis, and [that possesses] extraction facilities that can process all of that hemp into an oil, and then manufacture it,” says Rodosevich of his company. He calls Hemp Depot “completely vertically integrated — at a fairly-high capacity in each vertical.”

The company has a farm in Yoder, Colorado, where it cultivates seeds for its own use, as well as for sale to hemp growers across the country. And it grows hemp biomass on a massive scale on land in Rush and Cope. Then, in Colorado Springs, it extracts CBD from the plants — using it to manufacture products sold under its own brand names (Cibadol, which is branded towards potential placement in pharmacies; Tru Organics, designed to appeal to shoppers at healthier supermarket chains; and Pure Pet), as well as providing white-labeling services for 2,400 other brands across the U.S.

The company makes tinctures, balms, facial cleansers and exfoliants, eye cream, lotions, hair and body oil, softgel pills, and muscle gels. Have a different type of product in mind? Hemp Depot will task its lead scientist to develop the product, then utilize safe protocols to manufacture it.

“I think in the industry right now, there’s such a lack of regulation,” says Rodosevich. He says some companies source CBD from other countries, where the material is “potentially high in heavy metals, maybe pesticide content.” Rodosevich adds, “We wanted a company that [allowed us to know] where everything was coming from — and we own the supply lines.” Hemp Depot’s motto: “Pure Starts Here.”

In accordance with that credo, Hemp Depot was granted one of the first GMP certifications ever issued by NSF (“The Public and Safety Organization”) to a company in Colorado in January 2020, according to a Hemp Depot press release; those certifications cover “manufacturing and storing CBD and CBD products.” Rodosevich says of the process, which took 18 months to complete, “Getting our manufacturing facility GMP-certified was a pretty big deal.”

He advises consumers to be wary of companies that might claim to have GMP certification, based upon a third-party audit, yet which haven’t been fully vetted by NSF. “Just being audited for GMP definitely does not mean that you’re GMP-registered,” says Rodosevich.

Furthermore, on its website, the company provides consumers with third-party testing results, concerning purity and potency, for each of its products. Growing its hemp for biomass, Rodosevich says Hemp Depot utilizes organic farming practices, although its crops are not presently certified as organic.

The company also cultivates seeds. Rodosevich says, “We’re one of the largest seed manufacturers in the U.S. Last year we produced over 50,000 pounds of regular seed, and over 150,000,000 feminized seeds.”

Feminized seeds are seeds that mostly lead to female plants — those which produce CBD-rich flowers. In early 2020, the company announced that it would be drastically cutting the price of its feminized seeds. Whereas the industry standard has been $1 per seed, Hemp Depot will now be selling them for 30 cents each. Rodosevich calls it “a market disruption” that will economically benefit farmers. Outside of Colorado, states like California, Oregon, and Kentucky are top markets for those seeds.

“We’ve had some really explosive growth over the last four years,” says Rodosevich, citing a sales increase from around $200,000 in 2016, to $1.8 million in 2017, to $9 million in 2018, to $16 million in 2019. “There’s not a state we haven’t made a sale in,” he says.

Rodosevich, 33, grew up in Colorado Springs, attending Air Academy High School and then University of Colorado Colorado Springs, where he earned a degree in finance. In 2009, he co-founded Elevated Medical, one of the first medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver. But as competition grew, he and his business partner saw the hemp-CBD market as being “wide open — with a lot more potential.” Unlike medical marijuana, they realized that hemp can be transported legally across state lines and international borders.

Although Rodosevich can’t make health claims for his products, he hears positive feedback about them. “I think some of the testimonials that we get from customers are unbelievably touching,” he says. “They’re things that you’ll never forget.”

Challenges: Rodosevich cites banking and lending as issues, especially for his customers who run their own hemp businesses. “It’s so difficult to grow your business when there’s, like, no lending model,” he says. “We’re fortunate to be an investor-free, debt-free company.”

Opportunities: “I think that we haven’t really even seen the explosion of CBD,” says Rodosevich. “We’re talking to a lot of enterprise-level retailers [such as major department and grocery store chains,] that are very interested in CBD.”

While the CBD market is estimated to be worth $2 billion in 2020, Rodosevich says some foresee it growing to $20 billion by 2024. “I think we’ll see [those figures],” Rodosevich says, “and I think [it will be because of] big retailers getting involved.”

Needs: As business expands, Rodosevich envisions the primary need will be “hiring some of the most talented individuals” to meet the continued challenges and demands.

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Article: Co-founder and CEO Andy Rodosevich oversees an all-in-one hemp-CBD enterprise by emphasizing best practices in manufacturing, Company Week

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