Paragon Processing, the nation’s largest hemp processing facility, is looking to start full-scale operation in the Colorado City area within the next 20-30 days.
“We’re actively hiring people so that we can ramp up,” said William Chavis, partner of Paragon Processing, located about 23 miles south of Pueblo. “It wouldn’t make sense to ramp up with our current staff, so it takes time to get people in the building, train them, have a good understanding of what’s going on.”
Paragon Processing currently employs between 30 and 45 staff members. It is looking to expand to 250 workers by the end of the year and 500 in approximately two years. Available positions include maintenance people, general laborers and skilled tradesmen, according to Chavis.
“We have found very strong people out of the oil and mining industries that have experience using these types of equipment, but not necessarily for this purpose,” Chavis said. “We invite as many local people as we can to come in and help out with some of the general labor.”
The Paragon Process extraction facility is 256,000 square feet. At the facility, hemp biomass is tested for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbials. Biomass that passes each test is stored and processed. Currently, the facility is capable of processing 1 million pounds of biomass each month. Climate controlled storage is available for 50 million pounds.
“In the event that a farmer has 2-3 million pounds, we’re able to take that all in at one point in time, even if we can’t process for them in a single month,” Chavis said.
Through extraction, a winterized crude is produced from the biomass.
“That crude material consists of some of the other plant extracts other that the actual cannabinoids,” Chavis said. “That crude is around 50% cannabinoids, a mixture of everything from CBD, CBM, CBG, CBC as well as minute amounts of THC.”
Product must contain less than 0.3% THC content in order to be transported out of the facility.
“Just on the science side alone, if you were able to take a product that started with 0.3% and you concentrate it, it’s likely going to have over 0.3%,” Chavis said. “To further refine it, we use distillation.”
After distillation, THC content can also be removed through THC remediation or through production of a CBD isolate, a 99% or pure CBD product that contains no THC.
“Hemp is currently one of the largest cash crops that people are switching to,” Chavis said. “There is actually 15 times more volume of hemp being grown and produced this year than previous years.”
Paragon Processing currently has a sister facility located in Colorado Springs handling goods manufacturing. CBD distillate and isolate produced at the extraction facility may be used for food products, lotions and other consumer goods.
“We’re very interested in taking applications of all sorts,” Chavis said. “We invite people to go to our website to take a look and fill out the application.”
This story originally appeared at The Pueblo Chieftain.
Darlene Mea is a long-standing media personality in the world of alternative everything. Since the early 1980s she has been involved in television, radio, print and multi-media. She represents all things natural, sustainable and life-promoting and has dedicated her life to going beyond the status quo message of being told what’s good for us, to providing options for a more holistic lifestyle. Since discovering the world of Hemp in early 2015 she has been on a mission to inform everyone on how to become involved in this exciting natural product that continues to revolutionize the world of health, beauty and design.