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By Jean Lotus

A publicly traded Canadian hemp company plans to build communities of  50 -100 modestly priced hemp homes in northwestern Colorado per year, with two demonstration homes being built this year, the company spokesman said.

Vancouver-based Global Hemp Group CSE: (GHG / OTC: GBHPF / FRANKFURT: GHG) announced Monday that they had acquired Steamboat Springs, CO-based Western Sierra Resource Group as part of a debt facility partnership which will take advantage of more than $40 million in water resource rights in the high mountains.

“We’re going to build a community which employs hemp green technology to become an amazing showcase for hemp-based building materials in the United States,” Curt Huber, Global Hemp Group’s Vancouver-based CEO, told Let’s Talk Hemp.

The planned Colorado Hemp Agro-Industrial Zone, developed by subsidiary Innovative Hemp Technologies, will be rolled out as a vertically integrated project, reworking “dry” farmland with irrigation and growing industrial hemp. Although the purchase of specific parcels has not been completed, the company seeks to create a hemp-themed campus where “thousands of acres” of locally grown industrial hemp will be processed, Huber said.

The group’s housing strategy is built around planned unit development (PUD) housing neighborhoods of 1,600 sq. foot hempcrete homes in the $260,000-$425,00 price range, the company says.

Homes will be constructed of hemp materials including prefabricated 12-foot hemp panels and hemp blocks, developed and supervised by master hemp builder Gabriel Gauthier, who has participated in more than 100 renovations and new builds with hempcrete in France and Canada, Huber said.

“We wanted to do this project as early as 2015, but nobody had interest in sustainable construction,” Huber said. “We were too far ahead of the curve at that time. The world itself has shifted and a lot more people are paying more attention to sustainable building. They want to exercise their [housing] choices in the right direction,” he added.

Western Sierra has development experience in northwestern Colorado, where developers must secure water rights for proposed housing developments. The water resource rights in the new partnership will make it easier to build hemp homes in the region.

Global Hemp Group was formerly growing cannabinoid hemp in Oregon for CBD, but has pivoted to industrial hemp, which the company sees as having more potential long term.

The group will start with growing trials for different varietals to find the right crop for hemp building materials, Huber said. Canada legalized industrial hemp in the 1990s and farmers have grown the crop, mainly for grain, for decades.

However, locally grown hemp is not necessary to build the first homes, Huber said. The new hemp demonstration houses can be built with “good quality hemp hurd” sourced elsewhere to start.

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