Southern California will soon be home to Mojave Desert-based organic hemp production through a newly created joint venture between natural resources company Cadiz Inc. and cannabis cultivator Glass House Farms. Scott Slater, president and CEO of Cadiz told Cheddar Tuesday the company is "bullish on the long-term prospects for organic, California-based CBD and hemp."

The two companies are creating SoCal Hemp, which will grow the industrial hemp in the desert, a location Slater said is beneficial as there are "not a lot of bugs in the desert," more hours of sunlight throughout the year, and "organic and pristine" soil.

"Our intention is to control our distribution chain so that we would raise hemp, process our CBD and then use it in forward retail distribution," Slater said of the new partnership.

With SoCal Hemp now entering its commercial phase after two test phases, it is expecting to cultivate 200 acres in the spring and 1,000 acres by the end of 2020.

"We do not expect to, or want to, compete with the super-large players who are going to be doing tens of thousands of acres of industrial hemp," he said. "Our intention would be to split up what we have, to maximize our value in the CBD space for our own products and distribution, and then to have arrangements with forward-thinking companies that are interested in substituting hemp for cotton fiber," Slater said.

SoCal Hemp intends to use some of the crops as a potential substitute for cotton and some for CBD, Slater said.

"There is a strong belief that the use of hemp from farm to fiber can be an important substitute for things like cotton," he said, noting that the cultivation of hemp uses a relatively low amount of water when compared to crops like hay.

"Ours is really a niche. We want to be associated with organic, sun-raised, California hemp," Slater said.

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