by Shawn O’Brate

HUDSON – Over the jam-packed weekend, with balloons flying over Riverton and climbers swarming the city of Lander for International Climbers’ Fest, something in the small town of Hudson went unnoticed that will soon grow to be seen as a major, life-changing beginning to many Wyomingites, especially those that live on the reservation.

The newly formed Wyoming Hemp Co-operative, formed by the joining of Wyoming’s Tribal Hemp Company and Denver’s CBD Royale organization, had their ‘white label’ meeting at Svilar’s in Hudson on Saturday to celebrate the joining and spread the word about what hemp can do for you.

Yes, you, the average farmer who has not been able to grow much on their land lately. Yes, you, the tribe member who stares at untapped potential as the sun rises over the mountains every morning. Yes, you, the typical Wyoming citizen that knows the state can bring in more money, more jobs, more health benefits and more progress from the borders of Nebraska and Montana to the borders of Utah and Idaho. 

In a world where non-flammable hemp can be used to cure headaches, relieve aches and pains, and help PTSD patients live a normal life there is not enough being done to combat the opioid crisis and keep addiction–especially on the reservations–at a minimal level. 

“We’re not trying to legalize a drug, because you already have Percocet,” Shauna Silber, Chief Visionary Officer of CBD Royale said on Saturday, “you have all the drugs you need. I don’t need to get you any more drugs. What I need to get you is a plant, one that grows naturally like God’s green Earth has always done, and if you don’t like to eat God’s green Earth well then you can eat the chemical oxy-whatever-it-is because we all have our choices.”

Silber, who everyone at Svilar’s recognized as a true “visionary” in the hemp field, educated everyone about CBD and hemp information and did so with vigor and true compassion for the average American farmer, as well as the average member of the local tribes and reservations.

“I’ve been fighting this since 1999,” Silber added, “and when you talk to the Europeans, the Canadians, the Mexicans…the most receptive people that have responded to this is the tribe.”

Silber’s company, CBD Royale, has been pushing for the advocacy and growth of hemp across Colorado and the U.S.A. since 2016 but with her 23 years of experience, fighting for the plant to have the right representation, she has become a voice for fields of helpful hemp.

CBD Royale’s partnership with the local Tribal Hemp Company means that, very soon, the reservations and large acres of unused land could soon be used to create helpful medicine, pet treats, smokable products, and most importantly: JOBS.

“We’re trying to bring some money into the tribal community so they can start having more jobs,” Michael Bernard, CEO of CBD Royale said, “a thousand acres is going to make at least a hundred jobs…That’s the number one thing that the reservation needs is jobs.”

At Saturday’s event the newly-formed Wyoming Hemp Co-op discussed what land was accessible and what land was usable, especially considering the lack of water on the rez lately. With the land that they can use, through help from the Northern Arapaho and other tribe members, they will be able to bring more than just jobs and hemp to a dying or unused plot of land…they can also bring water.

“If we have 2-3000 acres growing [hemp] they don’t have a choice, we’re going to have to get some water in there,” Bernard said, “and the government knows it’s good for the economy and it’s good for jobs and it’s good for the environment. Even if someone has 10 acres they’ll be busy and they can do a lot with that.”

“It has to do with agriculture,” Holly Butler, a registered Northern Arapaho and managing member of Tribal Hemp Company said, “hemp is right along those lines of ag, so if we want more water on the reservation we have to grow and have ag.”

The two companies have similar mindsets when it comes to their products and their overall goal for the state of Wyoming, which makes their pairing so beneficial on both sides of the coin. At the moment the Tribal Hemp Company is using CBD Royale to get the ball rolling, starting off on the rez and in farmer’s markets across Fremont County to gauge the population.

Butler, a retired combat veteran, is in her second year of graduate school at the University of Maryland where she will soon be receiving her Master’s in medical cannabis science and therapeutics, but with that she wants nothing more than to help her own people here in Wyoming and on the reservation get the jobs, the medicine, and the growth that other states have already been utilizing for years now.

Another managing member of Tribal Hemp Co., Corey Butler, is also a 16-year veteran and has suffered chronic pain because of it. He couldn’t help but praise how CBD Royale’s products helped him in his times of need, especially when he developed skin cancer.

“I had skin cancer and I used some CBD and hemp products for about six months [and] it went away,” Corey said as he showed samples of creams and lotions, “doctors told me I needed to test this and test that, take this and take that, but I went natural means and it went away.”

Butler also showed off the products that will soon feature new labels and be sold across Fremont County before hopefully being grown organically in Fremont County. Products like pet treats that “help their digestion” as well as add a “calming effect” for those that get stressed out. There are also sexual products for men and women that are infused with CBD to help all sorts of intimate aspects in the bedroom.

“We have soap, we have bubble bath, we have edibles, we make coffee, we can do tea, we can make cinnamon rolls, we can make anything,” Sibler said about CBD Royale’s products soon to be at a farmer’s market near you with a new label, “there’s not a thing we can’t infuse [and] there’s not a thing Tribal Hemp can’t have access too.”

At the meeting the conversations around where to build and what to start with were had between Tribal Hemp, CBD Royale and farmers like Garrett Middleton who inherited a large chunk of land in Wind River.

“I figured this could help provide some jobs and help provide for a family one day,” Middleton said about the companies he sat around in Hudson, “I was already fiddling with [hemp] myself, wondering ‘where is Wyoming going to be in five or ten years?’ and when you look at it, it’s only a matter of time.”

Middleton seemed knowledgeable about CBD and the benefits that could come from starting to grow hemp right here in Fremont County, whether it be turned into oil, treats, gummies, or smokable solutions. But one thing Middleton, Silber, Bernard and everybody else was insistent upon is the “hemp-crete” that has already shown to be a viable solution to building issues.

“Hemp-crete is the biggest thing,” Silber said, “hemp-crete is not flammable, it doesn’t burn, it doesn’t erode when it has water on it, there’s so much more beneficial things about hempcrete.”

Silber and the rest of CBD Royale was adamant that the hemp-crete production could be produced on the reservation as well, stating that whatever hemp is leftover can be used to the fullest advantage–using all of the plant like it was intended–especially with a possible “hemp hospital”, much like the hemp-full massage parlor in Colorado.

“We can build it out of hemp-crete, we can build it with all of the hemp inside, all the way from the materials to the sheets, everything from the linens to the majority of the plastics that are around the space,” Silber said, “and we have the ability to do that, there’s that technology and there’s also that education and that job, there’s all those jobs from that creation.”

When it comes down to the “nitty gritty”, as Bernard puts it, the whole point of bringing the Wyoming Hemp Co-op together is just that: Jobs. 

“Anybody and everybody that’s just standing around doing nothing can have a piece of the action,” Bernard said, “they can say this is their land for a long time but now at least they’re producing, they’re selling. A hundred acres that might be worth $1 million dollars is right now making nothing.”

“We’re trying to let people know that we started the Wyoming Hemp Co-op and we’re trying to meet farmers that…don’t know what to do with it. We can help them from A-Z with hemp, we can help them selling the crop, we can help make products with their crop, we can help other people that want the leftovers to build houses,” Bernard continued, “and maybe if we have a couple thousand acres down the road we can have a small refinery to make concrete and other stuff, it’s not that hard. Then the natives can use all that to build homes, they can build a whole neighborhood out of hemp [and] be one of the first ones in the country to have a whole neighborhood sustained by their own growth of hemp and their own ecosystem.”

The goals of the organizations were on full display on Saturday, and if you have questions or concerns about the growth of hemp on land near you or even on your plot they encourage you to ask as many of those questions as possible to them. 

Look in future editions of The Ranger, Lander Journal and Wind River News for more information about the benefits and uses of hemp and how CBD Royale, Tribal Hemp Co., and the newly-founded Wyoming Hemp Co-op can help you, your neighbors, the rez, and all of Fremont County.