Stepping Up: Hemp Businesses Combat Covid-19

Farmer tending Hemp

The small town of Ronan, Montana, population 1,871, according to the 2010 census, is a small town with big hope. With the majestic Mission Range forming a magnificent backdrop to their community, Green Ridge Biosolutions, a local CBD company has stepped up. Like many others, they have thrown their hat into the production of hand sanitizer.  

Co-founder and COO Sam Belanger makes CBD oils, topicals, and healthcare products. And when he became aware that he could no longer find hand sanitizer for his own business, he had a brief conversation with the company chemist. It didn't take long for them to pivot and start making their own hand sanitizer. 

Green Ridge Biosolutions starting making the sought after hand sanitizer, and giving it to healthcare workers, first responders, and other high-risk workers, for free. They also started selling the hand sanitizer to locals at cost. To meet demand, the staff at Green Ridge Biosolutions also stepped up, working weekends to help meet skyrocketing needs. 

"As soon as we had a label, we went to the community and gave them to the local police department, we went to some of the open stores and gave individual units to cashiers working," Belanger said, adding they've also provided bottles to local nursing homes, a hospital and waitresses at open restaurants. "They're the ones at risk as far as contracting (COVID-19) because everyone is touching their environment. We need those people to stay open." Belanger added.

Thus far, Green Ridge has produced thousands of bottles, half of which have been sold online or at the company's headquarters, the other half donated to first responders, nursing homes and healthcare facilities. The company may be able to produce "a few hundred thousand" bottles of hand sanitizer, so long as Belanger can keep sourcing empty plastic bottles.

But the story doesn't stop there. There are accounts of hemp businesses stepping up across the country. An east coast based hemp clothing company recently started making PPE's for healthcare workers after the need became overwhelming. And while they wish to remain anonymous, plenty of others are happy to tout their willingness to do their part in this ever-evolving crisis.

In Asheville, North Carolina's breathtaking natural beauty is Brandstracts, LLC, a company that conceived and launched Helios Hand Sanitizer in just ten days in response to Covid-19. Alexander "Axie" Quarrier Blundon, CEO and Co-Founder, has always been an activist. With growing concerns over limited access to hand sanitizer that was once plentiful, he decided to do something about it. 

Blundon and co-founder Zebulon "Zeb" Bowles sprang into action. With abundant quantities of denatured ethanol, a by-product from their hemp processing facility, they quickly got to work formulating a hand sanitizer that would be fully compliant, accessible locally, and affordable. Helios Hand Sanitizer was born from their desire to be part of the solution.


Once production was underway, they started supplying it to at-risk locals like postal workers, hospital staff, first responders, homeless shelters and have now begun selling into the distribution network. Within just ten days, they had started manufacturing over 15,000 bottles and started selling to 50 locations, while continuing to provide free bottles to at-risk individuals in the area. 

Helios Hand Sanitizer is now available online, as well as for wholesale and distributor orders. They're committed to shipping product from their facility every day to ease the shortage of sanitizers.

"When the COVID-19 pandemic showed no sign of slowing and sanitizing products became unavailable, we realized we could easily make a sanitizing product from the ethanol used for extraction at our hemp processing facility. By the time we made our first batch for friends and family, at-risk individuals, and health care workers, demand was through the roof. Helios. God of the Sun - The Best Disinfectant." - Axie Blundon, CEO & Co-Founder, Brandstracts, LLC. 

In a realm of uncertainty, it's inspiring to know that there are good people in the world willing to step up, not when asked, but due to an undeniable urge to help others during a crisis.