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Pulling the Cork Out of the Processing Bottleneck Slowing the Hemp/CBD Boom

Mile High Labs is dramatically ramping up its CBD business by moving industrial-scale processing to where hemp is harvested.

This story appears in the August 2019 issue of Green Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you want a good place to see the CBD supply chain being built, go to Mile High Labs in Loveland, Colo. As little as a year ago, you could find the warehouse with your nose. The reek of newly legal hemp, which no human (and probably no drug-sniffing dog) could distinguish from its intoxicating sister plant containing THC, wafted from bins of the crop that seemed to be everywhere. Trucks loaded with “super sacks” filled with hundreds of pounds of hemp arrived frequently. 

Mile High Labs
Workers assembling the Mile High Monster.

Like the aroma of a busy bakery, Mile High Labs’ pungent terpenes would seem to signal the sweet smell of success for a processor riding the CBD wave. But founder and CTO Stephen Mueller didn’t smell it that way. For him, the odor emanating from the warehouse was the by-product of a haphazard supply chain -- one that was being improvised to turn ever-increasing amounts of harvested hemp into enough CBD to meet a seemingly insatiable demand. “The bottleneck is at the front of the operation, where you have really huge quantities of stuff to deal with,” he says.

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