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State invests in Las Cruces hemp manufacturing firm

BULLETIN REPORT

The New Mexico Economic Development Department has pledged to invest $400,000 in a hemp production and processing business in Las Cruces to help farmers grow the plant and manufacture from its ingredients.

According to a news release, the commitment to 420 Valley LLC represents a continuing effort by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes to target sustainable agriculture and other economic sectors suitable for growth and which can help diversify the economy.

'Hemp production and sustainable agriculture are essential components of our mission to expand New Mexico's economy,' Gov. Lujan Grisham said. 'We must think broader than one industry and one industry alone.”

“Agriculture and related enterprises have always been part of the economic base in Southern New Mexico and the new hemp laws that give farmers more options are a tremendous boost to the region,” said Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department.

420 Valley is a new vertically integrated CBD products supplier that will cultivate hemp then extract and refine the oil into manufactured products such as oil, edibles and topical ointments. It has signed an agreement to purchase a vacant 13,000-square-foot building in Las Cruces and expects to have occupancy by January, pending inspections and fire and safety improvements. The company is also consulting with a manufacturing facility in Socorro, said 420 Valley co-founders Rick Morales and Scott Bannister.

The $400,000 state investment comes from the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA), established by the Legislature to help with business growth, relocation and expansion.

“The investment by the state will help us become an industry leader in the blossoming extraction industry as well as create more than 50 jobs in Doña Ana County,” Morales said.

The city of Las Cruces has also pledged $150,000 for the project.

'We are excited to help support the growth of innovative local companies such as this one in Las Cruces that help to diversify our economy with well-paying job opportunities,” said Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima. ”Las Cruces is truly on the cusp of becoming a leader in growing a thriving industrial hemp industry.'

Technical assistance for the project was provided by the Mesilla Valley Economic Development Association (MVEDA).

“This announcement not only further showcases the growing hemp industry in Las Cruces but also the opportunities the industry is creating for local entrepreneurs,” said MVEDA Executive Director Davin Lopez.

The announcement is the second major agricultural initiative funded by the EDD in Doña Ana County. In May the state pledged up to $2 million in assistance to Rich Global Hemp, which took over a greenhouse business in La Mesilla and plans to hire 180 employees.

420 Valley is set to begin hiring employees in early 2020 who will earn an average of $33,000 annually. Per LEDA grant money benchmarks, 420 Valley has promised to have 55 employees by Dec. 31, 2023.

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