Kristina Etter   |   November 29, 2018

Hemp Producer Eyes Bigger Target

While the cannabis industry is full of artisan operations and specialty cannabis boutiques, one hemp producer in Montana has much bigger aspirations.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis writer, Kristina Etter, spent 20 years in corporate information technology with companies including Maytag Appliances, Wells Fargo Financial, and DuPont Pioneer. With a niche in mobile technology and…

For those in the cannabis industry, watching the evolution of legal marijuana is like waiting for the blossom of a mystery flower to open – you just don’t have any idea what to expect. Naturally, because of the nature of the plant, many try to compare the industry to alcohol, and in some ways, it does reflect the days of prohibition past.

If we try to compare the current market to the alcohol industry, for the most part, much of the cannabis industry would be comparable to microbrews, specializing in particular products, effects, and uses. Cultivators produce small batch, high-end products with big price tags. However, one Canadian company, with a large footprint in Montana is setting their sights on a much bigger target. With 20,000 acres in Montana and another 1,000 acres in Alberta, Canada, this massive operation aspires to be the largest producer of hemp-derived CBD in the world.

The Nature of Supply and Demand

Last week, CannabisTech spoke to Robert Leaker, CEO of Vitality Natural Health, who hopes to launch hemp into the mainstream and believes volume production is the first step. Leaker believes the limited output of quality CBD products is keeping prices too high for most consumers. “It’s really not fair, CBD products are incredibly expensive, and many can’t afford them. By building to scale, we make CBD more accessible,” he stated.

Clearly, there’s no sign of demand leveling off any time soon, and to meet this demand, Vitality Natural Health, LLC is expanding their operations in order to help balance the supply. “The demand is there, as soon as we produce a kilogram of CBD its sold almost immediately,” Leaker proclaimed.

About Robert Leaker and Vitality

After receiving several degrees in biotechnology and technical engineering, Robert Leaker worked as a process engineer for several years in Canada. Eventually, Leaker transitioned into the banking industry and climbing to the role of Vice President. Seeking a venture of his own, Leaker consulted with a mentor who was just entering the cannabis space. With years of professional experience in engineering and finance, CBD became the “culmination of a career,” in his own words.

Today, Leaker describes Vitality as an integrated seed to sale company with a focus on industrial hemp and production of CBD. “Vitality is changing the industry by leapfrogging the competition and building out to scale for future growth.”

To Scale Up or Scale Down

Taking a bit of a different approach, rather than scaling up lab equipment to produce larger runs, Leaker, and his team at Vitality Natural Health, decided to work from the other end of the spectrum. By scaling down refining, mining, and agricultural food processing equipment and processes to meet their needs, they can handle massive amounts of hemp biomass.

With two hemp biomass processing plants about to come online, the company is preparing for a huge uptick in production.

  • Upgrades to their Montana facility will allow the production of 3,000 kilograms of CBD per day.
  • Another plant, expected to begin production in early 2019, will process 150 metric tons of hemp biomass per day.

With both plants fully operational, and the addition of a new isolation lab, the company expects to produce more than 6,000 kilograms of CBD isolate per day.

Wholesale, White Label Ventures

With production at this level, Vitality Natural Health isn’t interested in marketing to the end consumer. Instead, Leaker explained, they want to be a supplier to other mid-tier players in the industry such as nutraceuticals, larger distributors, and product manufacturers.

Additionally Leaker pointed out that all of their products are third-party tested for potency and residual contaminants and come with a certificate of analysis from a Montana lab.

The Product Lineup

In an effort to provide a broad spectrum of products to manufacturers and distributors, the current product lineup at Vitality Natural Health include:

  • 99-percent plus, CBD Isolate – a pure, powdered CBD available by the kilogram.
  • 70-percent plus, Full-Spectrum CBD Distillate
  • Full Spectrum Soft Gels (.5 ml capacity), white-labeled for your individual brand

Moving Toward a Healthier Future

Leaker believes the CBD industry only has one direction to go… up. As laws continue to change, descheduling CBD will allow for changes to national banking regulations, and more large distributors will step into the game. Vitality hopes to get ahead of the curve by scaling up their operations to meet the anticipated demand when this happens.

Much like the Budweiser commercials suggest, “For the many, not the few.” Vitality Natural Health is hoping more consumers “cancel the autumnal mead,” and reach for something a little more domestic.

If you’d like to learn more about Vitality Health Naturals, their processing facilities in Montana or the products they provide, reach out them through their website at https://vitalitynaturalhealthllc.com/.

 

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