Broomfield just welcomed the center of the CBD universe — or a massive new factory, at the very least.
Mile High Labs, a maker of bulk hemp-derived CBD products, opened a 400,000 square-foot facility just off Highway 36 on Tuesday, October 8. On hand to welcome the self-proclaimed "center of the CBD universe" were Governor Jared Polis and Broomfield Mayor Randy Ahrens.
Polis even named a day in honor of the company. "I, Jared Polis, the governor of Colorado, hereby proclaim October 8, 2019, as Mile High Labs Day at the Capitol," he said before the ribbon cutting.
The governor has pushed for a growing hemp industry in Colorado through looser licensing regulations and tax breaks for larger hemp businesses that locate their headquarters in the state. Last month, he celebrated the opening of the country's largest hemp processing facility, in Colorado City.
"We're particularly interested in creating jobs in growing sectors," he told the crowd at Mile High Labs, adding that the new facility was also a boon for Colorado hemp farmers who grow much of the hemp from which the CBD is extracted. "We have the most knowledgeable and talented hemp workforce in the country."
Now, the work begins.
The company and its 250 employees make and sell CBD oils, capsules, drink mixtures and concentrate for white label products, which are then bought in bulk and sold by other brands. According to Mile High Labs CEO Stephen Mueller, the new factory has around $160 million in equipment.
A former engineer, Mueller founded Mile High Labs as a one-man operation in 2016, setting up shop in Loveland before expanding to Broomfield. Previously a Sandoz pharmaceutical plant, the new Broomfield site has kept some of the former occupant's employees, according to Mueller.
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"With this new plant here, we're really looking to take things to the next level," he said, explaining that new regulations and research create both challenges and freedom. "Coming out of this darkness, there's so much opportunity here to develop."
The company is already looking at further development in southern Colorado, according to Mile High Labs director of operations Ryan Keeler. "We're in the process of building another Mile High monster down south," he said.
Colorado's laws have created something of a rare opportunity for that development, with the legalization of recreational marijuana and hemp-infused foods in this state allowing the creation of legal CBD products meant for human consumption — products that are technically banned federally by the Food and Drug Administration, despite hemp's legalization by Congress in late 2018.
The FDA ban hasn't stopped the largely unregulated industry from thriving in Colorado and beyond, however, with an FDA representative admitting last month at an American Herbal Products Association conference that the agency just doesn't have the bandwidth to enforce its stance on CBD products intended for consumption.