A new hemp and CBD company has hit Colorado retail outlets, and the founder has a familiar name to Colorado marijuana. Jake Salazar, the founder of Denver dispensary chain MMJ America, has moved on to launch Solari Hemp, a line of hemp and CBD gummies, lotions, gel capsules, tinctures and more.
Solari co-founders Salazar, Colin Gallagher and Myorr Janha spent over a year planning their new company, from designing the product lines to having the right genetics in place for a successful hemp crop.
"We founded the company on the vertical integration model," Gallagher says. "We wanted to create a company with real partnerships, so our farmers are our equity partners, and we have strategic partners in different parts of the company."
Through a vertical integration model, Solari Hemp has partnered with fourth-generation farmers who are currently manufacturing products from hemp grown over 150 acres of farmland in Eaton and Longmont. The company has control over every production step from seed to shelf, including cultivation, extraction and manufacturing. Solari will also sell wholesale industrial hemp to other infused-product manufacturers, as well as white label for other brands.
"It's the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce a quality product and offer it to consumers at an affordable price," explains Salazar.
The founder and former CEO of MMJ America, one of the first medical and recreational dispensary chains in Denver, says he sold his share of the company and left a little over two years ago. According to Salazar, there is greater opportunity in the hemp industry.
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"I wanted to get away from the traditional marijuana industry and dive into something more cutting-edge," he says. "Hemp is this gateway to clinical studies, and has different types of cannabinoids that can help people that aren't as prominent in the marijuana industry."
Legal approval from the feds and easier state regulations than legal pot has doesn't hurt, either. Unlike state-licensed marijuana businesses such as MMJ America, Solari Hemp can sell its products online and even ship them across state lines. And by focusing on familiar wellness items like lotion and gel capsules, the brand believes it can reach even more consumers.
"People use vitamins or supplements on a daily basis," Gallagher says. "We wanted to create a line of products that people would feel comfortable with and have at least some prior experience with. The goal was to gear the brand to cater to everyone and anyone trying to better themselves."
Solari products are now sold online and at health and wellness, pharmacy, convenience, tobacco and grocery stores across the country, according to the company.