Industrial hemp has come to Michigan and one Buena Vista Township business is looking to capitalize on it.
Hemp, which does not contain a significant amount of the chemical THC to get a person “high,” is used to create medicines, rope, paper and a host of other products. Voters legalized hemp growing in Michigan last November and the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill legalized it nationally.
Abele Greenhouse and Garden Center at 3500 Wadsworth Rd. began growing industrial hemp this year. Co-owner and Vice President of Abele Matt Bouvy says the garden center was looking to replace a poinsettia crop it had discarded several years ago with another summer crop.
“Once we get past about June 20 or 30, most of our retail inventory from spring has been sold and our whole gutter-connected part of the greenhouse was empty for the rest of the year. So we said… let’s get some hemp seed, play around with it and… see if this is something we can turn into a profitable crop for us. ”
Bouvy says currently, hemp in Michigan is mostly grown for CBD, the chemical which is found in a variety of medical products derived from the plant. Abele is currently working with a partner in Midland who is looking to sell CBD products.
The crop, about 10,000 plants, will likely not get any bigger, according to Bouvy. He says they’re happy with the current size and feels between the retail side of the business with perennials and vegetables, plus the hemp, there’s enough people on staff between the summer and winter to take care of the business.