RONAN — CBD is hitting the shelves across the country in places like gas stations and convenience stores -- and hemp itself is being grown on Montana soil.
While it has many uses, this hemp is extracted for cannabidiol (CBD), which is a compound found in the cannabis plant and contains no THC.
“(Here) we further refine it, clean it up, and then we take and put it into end products,” said Sam Belanger is the COO of Green Ridge BioSolutions, a CBD manufacturing company in Ronan.
They aren’t the only ones doing this, but they are the first. Last month, the State of Montana issued its first ever hemp processor license to Green Ridge. This allows the company to make several products including lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, muscle rubs, and moisturizing creams.
Before the products hit the shelves, farmers bring in the hemp for chemical processing. Inside the lab there is lots of scientific equipment this company uses to get their product. Their machine uses evaporation to extract CBD.
Belanger says the process isn’t new, "the most fascinating part is, what we do today, making this hemp extract, we found recipes on how to make it that are 100-150 years old.”
Green Ridge Biosolutions moved from Missoula to the old Ronan Sports and Western building to expand its operations in September. Belanger says the goal is to hire 30-to-40 new employees within the next year. He added the more retailers we get in the better.
For now, Green Ridge is making products and stocking them in stores around Montana and across the country. CBD is not currently regulated by the FDA, but Belanger says the company tries to follow FDA regulations.
Additional information about growing and selling hemp products in Montana can be found here.