Puriti Labs, producer of healing hemp products, opens shop in Troutman
Troutman officials join Puriti Labs by Dove Medical at Saturday's grand opening ceremony.
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Puriti Labs by Dove Medical held its grand opening ceremony on Saturday morning at its new location in Troutman. Jerry and Fiona Oxsher, along with Tammy Bridges, started the company in 2018 because of their enthusiasm about the future of industrial hemp-derived products and essential oils and their potential benefits and applications.
Fiona holds a Ph.D. and her husband Jerry a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of South Carolina. They were concerned that many hemp products were not being properly and safely produced and decided “to try to make it right.”
Fiona welcomed 20 well-wishers and town officials to the ceremony after the “crazy ride” of opening their new company at 155 South Eastway Drive. She thanked the town officials present, including Town Council member Paul Bryant and Town Manager Justin Longino, for their help and support.
“We thought this day would never come, but here it is!” she exclaimed. “We are very excited.”
Bryant wished the company’s owners much success. “You are bringing cutting-edge technology and better living through chemistry to Troutman,” he said.
Longino is pleased to have a new type of business in Troutman that is focused on using science and technology to produce its products.
This North Carolina local processor for botanicals, such as lavender and eucalyptus essential oils, and flower extracts such as hemp and rose extract, is a member of the N.C. Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program.
“This program is part of the process of trying to get North Carolina farmers the chance to revive their fields again,” Fiona explained. “They used to plant tobacco, which is slowly going out of style, so a lot of them do not know what to plant now.”
Hemp was a big crop in North Carolina before 1937, according to Oxsher, and brought in major business to the state. However, the crop was outlawed after lobbying by petroleum, pharmaceutical, and pulp companies.
“The State of North Carolina is trying to encourage farmers to plant hemp, but what do they do with the hemp afterwards?” asked Oxsher, who said that it can be used for fibers, clothing and oil extraction.
“The oils actually have anti-inflammatory properties and can help with anxiety and insomnia. The list of applications is probably as big as the parking lot,” Oxsher added.
The company processed industrial hemp in Guilford County. They also work with farmers in Kentucky and Virginia.
“We help them get a fair price for their hemp, help them grow it, and then we process it so that when people come to our store to buy a product, they can see from seed to shelf on every step where it came from, the certificates of analysis with quality control, and really know what they are buying,” Fiona said.
Bridges, who also owns Dove Medical Supply in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area, noted that the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) made industrial hemp legal across the United States, but some producers are “putting profitability in front of accountability, and 90 percent of what you see on the shelf is from Canada or China, and the farm bill was for the American farmer.”
“That’s what we want to educate people on. Before you go grab something, it’s not about the price -- it’s about the cost. We want to make sure that what is on that label is in that bottle,” Bridges said.
Bridges said the trio really cares about “people and healthcare, and it’s changing every single day.” She noted healthcare costs are rising, and the “superfood” hemp needs research and development to produce more cost-effective remedies for health ailments.
Noting the Oxshers’ academic background, Bridges said, “They know how to do things the right way.”
They chose Troutman to open the business for its small-town feeling, support, and valuing of local businesses. She noted that much of what people see in CBD stores is actually produced from cheaper hemp grown in China, but their products will be locally sourced and produced in Troutman.
Bridges said the trio has plans in the works to open another location in the Statesville area.
The company’s licensed chemists specialize in ethanol-based extraction techniques to deliver concentrates of high quality and purity.
The company employs extraction techniques that utilize food-grade ethanol to perform raw plant extractions at varying temperatures, depending on the desired end product.
Alcohol extraction is effective, efficient, and simple. The FDA classifies ethanol as "Generally Regarded as Safe," or GRAS, approving it for human consumption. Ethanol is a common food preservative and is in many products consumers use every day.
After the extraction, the ethanol is removed from the resulting concentrate, ensuring the lowest possible level of trace ethanol.
At various points throughout the refinement process, Puriti Labs’ products undergo third-party testing to ensure their purity and safety. Along with full cannabinoid profiles, the samples are tested for terpene profiles, residual solvents, pesticides, and heavy metals.
Lab results are available to customers to ensure their confidence that the products are safe and to guarantee the highest purity and quality.
In addition to processing, Puriti’s chemists also perform research and development onsite at the facility to develop new and effective products.
N.C. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE INDUSTRIAL HEMP PILOT PROGRAM
Hemp production has been legalized in North Carolina, but only as part of the state's pilot program as allowed under federal law.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Pilot Program website notes that for “centuries, industrial hemp (plant species Cannabis sativa) has been a source of fiber and oilseed used worldwide to produce a variety of industrial and consumer products.”
More than 30 nations produce industrial hemp as an agricultural commodity, which is sold on the world market. In the United States, however, production is strictly controlled under existing laws.
The Agricultural Act of 2014 allowed certain research institutions and state departments of agriculture to grow industrial hemp, as part of an agricultural pilot program, if allowed under state laws where the institution or state department of agriculture is located.
Additional significant changes to U.S. policies regarding industrial hemp production occurred through the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.
North Carolina will continue to operate under the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program authorized in 2014 until the new US Department of Agriculture rules for the 2018 changes are in place.
The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate Bill 313 in 2015, allowing the Industrial Hemp Commission to develop the rules and licensing structure necessary to stay within federal laws and again modified in 2016 in House Bill 992.
The Industrial Hemp Commission adopted temporary rules for review in February 2017, which were approved by the NC Rules Review Commission of the Office of Administrative Hearings.
Interest in these products increased again last December when Congress passed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill), which established a new cannabis category classified as “hemp” – defined as cannabis and its derivatives with extremely low (no more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis) concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The 2018 Farm Bill also removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, making it no longer a controlled substance under federal law.