HOUSTON - It is hard to miss the wide variety of CBD oil products that have gone on sale, in Texas, in the year since the product was legalized.
As this new industry tries to keep up with demand, the source for CBD oil becomes an important part of the process, and a Houston start-up hopes to corner the market on quality.
It is happening in a discrete, West Houston building, where recently harvested hemp gets ground into a fine powder that will help release the valuable CBD oil buried deep within the plant.
This operation is the Bayou City Hemp Company, founded by partners Ben Meggs and Jeromy Sherman when they say their CBD oil retail company had trouble finding a quality source. "We couldn't get that partner that could answer simple questions like: 'Where's your hemp grown?'; 'How's it grown?'; 'How's it processed?'; 'What method is used?'," says Meggs.
The answer was to become the partner they were looking for, building, and licensing their pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil extraction facility.
There's a lot of science that would go over most people's heads, as the oil is separated from the various impurities that can get in the way of useful CBD products. But that's what Bayou City Hemp hopes to sell.
The lab is the first of it's kind, in Texas, and one of fewer than a dozen-such facilities in the country.
As production ramps-up from the company's mid-summer start, the plan is to provide an opportunity for Texas farmers to find an outlet for hemp-crops and expand their Lone Star pedigree.
"That's a big part of why we started this," says Sherman, "We wanted to bring it home to Texas, and Houston, to help the Texas farmer and give them an outlet to process their material."
Right now, an estimated 500 Texas farms are experimenting with hemp crops. It's described as a challenging thing to grow. But, there's an incentive.
One optimistic estimate suggests CBD sales, nationwide, could reach $26 billion dollars, by 2022.