GOLDEN VALLEY – A California businessman is developing about 500 acres in Mohave County as a hemp farm for veterans after legislation was passed this year to legalize the product in Arizona.
Bruce Perlowin, chief executive officer of Spring Hope, North Carolina-based Hemp Inc., came up with a business plan to create a hemp-growing community in Mohave County, providing an opportunity for veterans to be on the front lines of an emerging multibillion-dollar industry, while improving their well-being.
Veteran Village Kins Community, near Amana Road and Sage Road in Golden Valley, will grow hemp and produce cannabidiol (CBD) products to benefit veterans and generate revenue for people living on the land.
The CBD market is already a $100 million industry, and is expected to grow to more than $2.1 billion by 2020, the CEO said.
“Veterans will make tens of thousands of dollars a year on one acre, probably $30,000 to $60,000 a year for high CDB hemp,” Perlowin said Thursday in a phone interview.
The eco-friendly hemp project is under construction with one geodesic dome completed for a holistic healing and learning center to help vets with post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions. Three other domes are framed for the outer skins, which are 4-inch thick foam.
The solar and wind-powered energy infrastructure is in place, and greenhouses are under construction for hemp cultivation.
Perlowin said he’s invested about $3 million in the Golden Valley hemp project over the last five years, including the land purchase, 20 miles of roadway, four water wells and irrigation.
Eight workers are focused on gardening, taking care of 1,500 trees that survived out of 3,000 that were planted, doing road work and putting up barbed wire to keep free-range cattle out of the garden.
Each 2.5-acre lot is designed to be self-sustainable, with 1 acre dedicated for growing hemp and the rest of the land to be used for an organic garden, beehives, a “living” fence made of bamboo and oleanders, pond and family tree.
The $20 million hemp processing plant in North Carolina is the largest in the Western hemisphere, Perlowin said.
“We do a lot of farming infrastructure out there and a little bit of CBD extraction,” he said. “And we have Hemp University. We’ve trained over 500 hemp farmers. Now we’re expanding out here because they just made hemp legal. We had to wait for the rules.”
Hemp cultivation is regulated by the Department of Agriculture, and North Carolina has its own hemp commission.
“Every state’s different, how much it costs to get a license, the acreage for farming, the procedure to file for license, and that takes several months,” Perlowin said. “We don’t believe we’ll be able to grow hemp this year. It might be next year.”
Hemp Inc. is a public company founded in 2008 with a mission of providing eco-friendly hemp products to make the world a better place to live. The company is a pioneer in the industrial hemp industry, and has 120 “farming partners,” the CEO said.
“In a public company, you’re supposed to make a profit. However, you can make a profit and help American veterans at the same time, to help solve social problems,” Perlowin said.
Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day, and Perlowin thinks that number will be reduced to about two a day after they see a chance to get healed at the hemp farms.
High-definition cameras will be installed to capture development of Kins Community in Golden Valley in real time with live streaming video.
It’s been an “arduous journey,” but well worth it, Perlowin said.
The project’s timing is perfect since Gov. Doug Ducey signed Senate Bill 1098 to embrace hemp as a viable, new agricultural product for the state. The law provides funding for Arizona Department of Agriculture’s pilot program allowing those with a license to begin cultivating industrial hemp.
“The ability to grow hemp in Arizona is going to provide an incredible income stream for those who might not otherwise have access to this rapidly emerging multibillion-dollar industry,” Perlowin said.