Pittsboro’s Oak City Hemp helps local farmers


PITTSBORO — Oak City Hemp, located at The Plant on Lorax Lane in Pittsboro, opened last March selling hemp products such as ointments, oils, salves and flowers.

Co-owner Patrick McClanahan Jr. says he started the business with partner Aaron Puryear because of a lack of quality in many of the hemp products he’d sampled.

“We couldn’t find reputable, tested farm-to-table hemp, so we became that company,” McClanahan said.

“We started because there was a lot of junk CBD,” Puryear said. “People were getting sick. And we had friends and family using it and benefiting from it.”

McClanahan was raised on tobacco farms in Benson and also worked ranches all over Texas. Three years ago, he moved to Colorado and began working on farms there. He noted he’s always had a passion for the plant even through prohibition. McClanahan notes the efforts of William Randolph Hearst, the owner of a paper mill in the early 1900s, to produce a smear campaign against hemp to ensure his paper mill and pulp would be a viable business. He notes that Hearst lobbied against hemp and won by linking it to marijuana.

McClanahan believes the plant can save struggling farmers, particularly tobacco farmers.

“Cannabis can save these farms, health and this country,” he said. “We know this is possible because it has already been done. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”

This passion goes beyond simply selling the final product in Pittsboro. McClanahan consults with current and prospective hemp farmers.

“We consult because these farmers are new to this and we have a need for an ever-increasing yield for retail in North Carolina,” he said. “Many farms last year lost their crop due to unpreparedness and mold. We train against this, primarily with tobacco farmers and vegetable farmers. It turned out that they were the most interested in hemp because the tobacco companies in North Carolina don’t care about the farmers all they care for is the money. This has driven the pound of tobacco down to $1.80 while they retail a quarter ounce pack of cigarettes for $10. This is beyond unfair practices as that corners the market and drives up the price while reducing purchase prices on farms. These farmers have no choice but to sell to these companies as the law has them cornered as well. Certain companies can buy and certain can sell, creating a monopoly where the buyer names the price and ruins farms and families extracting money out of our state.”

McClanahan’s consulting includes full service assistance from buying to selling. It includes purchasing seeds to grow with proper genetics, acquirinclones that aren’t root-bound and a viable market to sell to. They assist farmers in topping crops, trimming training and tips for using all of the plant from trim to root. For their services, McClanahan charges $150 an hour at a three-hour minimum, or $5,000 a year for retainer services.

“I see a future where hemp bleeds into everything from textiles to food products,” McClanahan said. “We speak with companies that are rebuilding the Henry Ford original hemp fiber cars that are stronger than ever. Hemp concrete that has more tensile strength. Hemp homes that are fire proof. Hemp used to clean up chemical spills since hemp is a bioaccumulator it will rid a land of toxins in a year to three. This means tobacco farms have an opportunity to go organic even after years of pesticide abuse. Hemp clothing meaning less waste in landfills as clothes have 10 times the shelf life. Hemp plastics that biodegrade in six months or less. Even biofuel is made from hemp for cars. The original car ran on this fuel.”

Oak City’s retail business includes hemp-based topicals and tinctures, CBD vape juice and more. The location is open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.The shop features a wide variety of hemp and Cannabidiol (CBD) products. Puryear described CBD as a non-intoxicating marijuana extract that is produced from the hemp plant. Recent studies of CBD focus on the compounds potential benefits for people suffering with anxiety, epilepsy and pain. Oak City Hemp sells everything from tinctures to topicals to flower to concentrate to vapes.

McClanahan and Puryear can be reached at Oak City Hemp at The Plant on Lorax Lane in Pittsboro by email at oakcityhemp@gmail.com or by phone at 919-880-8164.

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@chathamnr.com.