FLORENCE — Carmelo Parasiliti's goal for Green Acres Organic Pharms is to provide quality CBD products for the public at the lowest possible cost.
The unique part of his operation is that he is using Alabama-grown hemp to make the products in the Shoals.
He said most stores that sell CBD oil and other products purchase them from a wholesaler to sell in their shops.
"We are an industrial help processing company," the 29-year-old Parasiliti said. "We started the company in September 2019 and got our industrial hemp license in February."
The young company, which is located at the Shoals Business Incubator, offers a variety of CBD products such as oils, cremes and gummies.
"After we extract the crude oil from the plant, we make several different products — CBD oil for humans and pets, CBD gummies and topical cremes," Parasiliti said. "We also sell wholesale oil."
Parasiliti said his manufacturing process uses hydrocarbons to separate the oil from the plant.
What's left is a dark "crude" CBD oil that is further processed to remove any trace hydrocarbons. It eventually becomes a lighter, golden-colored liquid that is mixed with an ultra-refined coconut oil to dilute the product.
"To my knowledge we're the only ones doing hydrocarbon extraction," he said.
Some producers use a heat-press method or ethanol alcohol to extract the oil.
Parasiliti said the hydrocarbon method is used in the production of CBD products in Colorado and California.
He wants to keep the business as local as possible, and keep money in north Alabama.
"We buy all our hemp from Alabama farmers," he said. "Everything we buy is below the legal permissible limit.
Parasiliti said he purchases his raw materials from Bluewater Hemp in Decatur.
Bluewater Hemp co-owner Taylor Marks said the company had a small office on Helton Drive, but moved to a larger facility in Decatur last year. They grow hemp, consult with north Alabama farmers who are growing hemp, and produce their own line of CBD products.
Marks said he and his partner, Alan C. Gerling Jr., have worked with Parasiliti and hope to continue providing him with raw materials.
"We're hoping to be able to supply him with the best hemp flower he could get," Marks said.
Marks said Bluewater Hemp is working with farmers in Colbert and Lawrence counties. He said some farmers grow the product, but don't know what to do with it once they harvest it. He said his company can help farmers to find markets for their crops.
"Hopefully, we'll have 50,000 pounds of hemp to process this year," he said.
Marks said he likes local CBD producers because some oils on the market originated in China and England.
"I think this will be a good partnership," he said.
At this time, Green Acres Organic Pharms doesn't have a storefront. The products are available online at GreenAcresOrganicPharms.com, or can be delivered in the Shoals.
Parasiliti said he wants to be able to produce a high-quality product that is the most affordable on the local market.
"It kind of upset me how high prices were for CBD," he said. "I think there's a good future for it."
He said there are five people working at the processing facility, including his wife, Kristina, and younger brother, Brian.
Hemp farming and the production of hemp products is regulated by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.