Hemponix will open a new cannabis store and e-commerce/warehouse location this Friday at 1425 First St. S. in Willmar, according to the Hemponix Facebook page.
Hemponix is a cannabis farm located in rural London that transitioned from an aerial lettuce-growing operation to a hemp-growing operation in 2018, according to Hemponix founder Kevin Ortenblad.
It was one of the first cannabis farms in the state, he told the Willmar City Council on Nov. 7 when the council approved a license for the company to sell THC products at its new location.
The city of Willmar enacted a $2,000 licensing fee for the sale of THC products, among other requirements, after the state of Minnesota earlier this year legally authorized edible or consumer products containing no more than 0.3% THC derived from legal hemp.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is a psychoactive compound that produces an intoxicating effect, whether it is derived from hemp or marijuana.
Hemponix is working with the University of Minnesota to develop unique strains to block the high THC content, according to Ortenblad.
“Early this year we launched a consumer line using our own plants grown outside New London,” he said, noting that they currently have retail space in New London.
Ortenblad said the bulk of its business includes products that use chemicals and other compounds derived from cannabis, whether they are creams, oils, tinctures, or capsules. Some products are being studied to treat glaucoma or inflammatory bowel disease, and others are thought to reduce pain or improve sleep quality, according to the company’s website.
“THC is about a quarter of our product line,” Ortenblad said.
He noted that Hemponix has been in compliance with Minnesota laws regarding CBD and THC products, and continues to lead in child-resistant packaging.
He said, “No (packaging) that looks like candy or cookies, because I’m a father of two and don’t believe in those products, personally.”
“There’s also a big difference in what we’re trying to build versus what competitors might have. We’re not a tobacco shop, and we don’t have the same aesthetic. We don’t sell bongs and pipes. We primarily sell cannabis-related products in reference to medicinal uses, but not medical ones.” , as the state might call it. They are all hemp-derived products.”
Hemponix grows all of its produce in its own 5,000 square foot facility. Aeroponics was first designed by NASA to grow plants in space, according to the Hemponix website.
It took her 15 years to develop and fine-tune what it is today, vertically farming using computers to read and regulate every detail of the crop, including fertility, pH levels, light cycles and environmental conditions, according to the website.
Ortenblad has noted that a benefit of moving its e-commerce/warehouse facilities to Willmar is that using the Willmar Post Office saves two days of shipping time for its customers.
“So many benefits and we’re so excited to be here. Local business, locally grown, locally made, locally sold,” Ortenblad said.