Idaho businessmen Joel Bordeaux and Kelsey Kilmartin watched as dozens of parents pleaded with lawmakers to allow children with severe forms of epilepsy to be legally treated with cannabidiol (CBD) during an emotional 2015 debate at the Idaho Statehouse. The 2015 Idaho Legislature approved a bill that would have legalized the use of CBD, but Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter vetoed the measure after his Office of Drug Policy said the bill was just a step toward legalizing medical marijuana. Meanwhile, Bordeaux and Kilmartin were already working on an alternative.
"I saw the writing on the wall regarding this years ago," Bordeaux said, speaking from the Sandpoint-based headquarters of Global CBD LLC, which he and Kilmartin co-own. "The only way to go on this was hemp."
Now, Bordeaux and Kilmartin are preparing to put their hemp-based CBD products in Idaho stores, including a number in Treasure Valley.
"But those retailers really wanted to see some clarification from the Idaho attorney general's office," said Bordeaux. "That's a critical piece."
So, Bordeaux was anxious to forward an opinion from the AG's office which offers "an informal opinion" on Idaho's definitions of marijuana.
"Most importantly, our hemp CBD products have no tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC," said Bordeaux, referring to the principal ingredient that makes marijuana a controlled substance in Idaho. "Secondly, it's important to know that the hemp we're using comes from stalks and stems of the male variety, not the female flowering variety. That's why it's OK to use, like a lot of other hemp products."
Another hurdle Bordeaux and Kilmartin had to clear was how to source the hemp. It turns out, they said, they can't import hemp grown in other U.S. states into Idaho, which is why they turned to one of the largest agricultural hemp producers in Europe.
"It's shipped to us in dry form from Switzerland," Bordeaux said. "Idaho law exempts products from cannabis stalks and stems as long as there isn't any THC."
Global CBD is already being sold in Idaho's panhandle.
"My goal is for Sandpoint to be the CBD capital of the nation," said Bordeaux. "But above all, it's about helping people. I think a lot of people are going to be excited to see this."