Hemp producer ups quality game with third party GMP certification

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Haleigh's Hope founder says the company's careful manufacturing practices have been validated with its new GMP certification.  Haleigh's Hope photo.
Haleigh's Hope founder says the company's careful manufacturing practices have been validated with its new GMP certification. Haleigh's Hope photo.
Hemp product manufacturer Haleigh’s Hope says it is raising a quality flag in the hemp/CBD category by getting a GMP certification on its production facility from a third party verifier.

The company, which is based in Denver, CO and grows its raw material within the state, said to its knowledge this is the first such certification that has been made public within the hemp space.

Jason Cranford, founder of Haleigh’s Hope, got hands on experience growing cannabis in California for a collective in the San Francisco Bay Area. He moved to Colorado after the state started licensing hemp growers about 10 years ago.  

Strain named for patient

The brand name refers to his proprietary strain of hemp, which he said he developed over a number of years of selective breeding. The strain takes its name from Haleigh Cox, a girl in Georgia who achieved relief from seizures using the oil that he extracts from his plants. The young girl also has a medical marijuana law in Georgia named after her.

Cranford said that in his view claims of GMP compliance don’t mean much without verification. 

“We dove into GMP compliance,​” Cranford told NutraIngredients-USA. “We thought it was important to have a third party auditor come in. We went with Eurofins, one of the biggest food testing facilities in the world.”

Cranford labels his products as ‘botanical oil’ and does not use ‘CBD’ anywhere on the label. In addition to the new GMP certification, the company announced a USDA organic certification its crops that was awarded in May.  

The company grows its hemp in Colorado at three different sites. Cranford, whose cultivation experience goes back to the early 80s, said the legal complexities make it impossible at the moment to grow raw material in one state and extract it in another. He cited recent criminal case filed against a truck driver transporting hemp as a cautionary tale.

But that doesn’t mean he believes Colorado, even with the state’s head start, will be the best choice for cannabis cultivation once the federal legal barriers are removed. 

“Our last freeze is almost in June and then we’ll get hail in July,”​ Cranford said. “Long term I see this being the most successful in the Midwest, in places like Kansas, or Oklahoma or Arkansas.”

Cranford said his breeding program yielded a strain that is below the 0.3% THC standard for industrial hemp.  He said he has also developed an extraction protocol that ameliorates the issue of having extracts that at certain stages of the manufacturing process have higher levels of THC as a simple consequence of concentration.

GMP audit was culmination of long process

Cranford said getting the GMP certification was a process the company has been working toward for a number of years, but the actual audit itself was a breeze, because of the way the company has been operating up to now.

“We got a 98 out of 100 the first time,”​ he said.

“The way our traceability functions, we have a batch number for each lot. That connects to a lab report on that concentrate. And that connects to an individual plant. So if we have an issue, we can trace that back to a plant in a certain location in a field,”​ he said.

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