By Chance Chamberlain
Michelle and Luke Poindexter grew up in Adrian and after a few years away from their hometown, they are back and working at their latest venture in the hemp industry. The duo are the founders of Rural Route Hemp Company and MoCann Extracts. According to Michelle the companies have been welcomed into the community with open arms.
“We were a little surprised by how the community has responded to our business. We grew up here and we are used to the community being more on the conservative side about things, but we have really seen great support from the community,” she said. “We have a lot of locals come in to buy our products and we even get people coming through our doors that we never thought would use our products and that is pretty cool for us.”
The Poindexter family stumbled into the hemp industry three years ago after learning about the health benefits of hemp products. They used their background in the agriculture industry to become involved in a new industry from scratch.
Michelle said, “We come from a farming background and we have family and friends who have a wealth of knowledge in different areas which helped us make the jump to hemp. We decided that it is a good product that can help a lot of people and decided to go into this thing as a family.”
The first extractions of cannabidiol (CBD) oil from the Poindexter’s hemp harvest came in the summer of 2019 which later produced their first round of oils, salves, creams and flowers in March. CBD contains less that .03 percent THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana) and comes from the hemp plant, which is related to the marijuana plant.
“Originally, we were not going to take the extraction all the way down to a final product. We had planned to concentrate the oils and then sell it in bulk to other people who are making product, but the price of the raw materials went down so quick after the farm bill passed,” Michelle said.
“After the bill passed, we decided that we would make our own products and we really had a lot of push from people around here and we got our first products ready in March,” she added.
Rural Route Hemp Company has relied heavily on the internet market to turn a profit during the pandemic. Michelle said the online shop has helped get the business off the ground.
“In the summer, we were supposed to go to a lot of conventions and festivals to get our name out there so we could pick up business, but COVID ruined our plans. Luckily, we kind of made up for those losses with our online sales which have helped us gain traction in the industry,” Michelle said. “We do offer in-store visits now by appointment and it has taken a while to get the word out locally, but we are making progress.”
The entire process from field to final product is done in house at MoCann Extracts and Rural Route Hemp Company and Michelle said working with family makes the process easier to manage.
“It is all about trust when it comes to what we do here because we have so many steps in the process that must be handled with a great amount of care. It is important that every step is executed with perfection and it eases everybody here to know they can count on one another to do the job the right way,” she said.
Co-founder Luke Poindexter said, “The process begins with the plant which we grow and harvest at our family farm just outside of town.
“Once we harvest, the plant is turned into hemp biomass which we keep stored here in our facility. After we bag the biomass, we begin the extraction steps and then finally turn the oil into products at the end of the cycle.”
MoCann Extracts harvested approximately 5,000 pounds of hemp biomass this year which will be used to create its CBD products.
Luke said, “It takes roughly 40 pounds of plant material to make one liter of pure distillate which is essentially highly concentrated oil. Depending on the CBD concentration, one liter of distillate will make anywhere from 500 to 1,000 of our CBD oil bottles we sell in our shop.
“We had a really good harvest this year because the weather cooperated with us, so we will have plenty of product to finish up this winter,” he added.
Michelle said the harvest this year puts them in a better position than last year.
“This year the harvest was so much better because we did not get drowned with rainwater like in 2019. That helped us stay in the fields and the moderate weather created a fantastic yield for us. We had almost perfect conditions in the field this year,” she said.
Riding on the success of a substantial harvest, Rural Route Hemp Company will have more products on its shelves than ever before. With skepticism about CBD in the area, Michelle and Luke assure that the oils have no psychoactive properties.
Michelle said, “Although CBD does contain small amounts of THC, it will not create the feeling of being high. I think a lot of people get the idea that we are selling products here that are meant to get people high, but that is not the case.”
Luke added, “It requires all of the compounds working together to get the full health benefits of CBD, so yes THC is present, but it will not get you high. The THC could show up on a drug test, but it is very unlikely because of how small of a percentage is present in CBD oils.”
Rural Route Hemp Company is located at 402 W. Lexington St., Adrian, and can be visited by appointment from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday by calling 816-507-0035.