Pennsylvania hemp processor closes, citing falling hemp and CBD prices

A major hemp processor based in Pittsburgh folded after the collapse of hemp and CBD market prices.

Commonwealth Alternative Medicinal Options closed its 45,000-square-foot CBD processing facility on Monday, leaving a hole in the local supply chain, according to the Tribune-Review.

Chief operating officer Mike Moody said the company saw a 75% price decrease for its finished product, while supply significantly outpaced demand.

“We didn’t move fast enough,” Moody said. “The market moved faster than us.”

A year ago, the processor announced plans to hire an additional 20 employees to its staff of 25 and contract with growers to expand production to 300 acres from 50 acres in 2018.

Pennsylvania licensed 324 hemp farmers in 2019, and they produced the crop on 4,000 acres.

Falling prices have impacted other processors nationwide, including Winchester, Kentucky-based hemp producer and CBD manufacturer GenCanna and its subsidiary Hemp Kentucky, which filed bankruptcy earlier this month after a year of challenges.

During a hemp insurance seminar in Florida last week, GenCanna President Steve Bevan blamed inaction and uncertainty over how to regulate CBD by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for diminishing the opportunities for hemp and CBD companies.

“FDA does not have a pathway for accepting something that was an illegal substance,” Bevan said at the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau’s annual meeting, according to Colorado agricultural publication The Fence Post.