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This week Chesapeake's city council approved a conditional use permit for a facility that will turn cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, into a variety of consumer items.

Peter Mantz, one of the co-owners of the company, told the council this week the operation would create balms, ointments, gel caps and even a water soluble powder.

"So imagine a stick pack of CBD that you can rip open, pour it in your water bottle and your coffee," he said. "That's the kind of thing we're making out here."

According to Chesapeake's communications director Heath Covey, the facility is the first of its kind in the city.

CBD products are already widely available in retail outlets in the area, Covey added, and there are at least two retail stores that specifically market CBD products.

Covey said the city has not yet seen an uptick in permit applications for other facilities like Mantz's.

"That's not to say people aren't considering opening either sort of business," Covey added. "But we're not in a position to know that until they (the owners) take some sort of definitive steps."

Mantz recently retired as a captain in the U.S. Navy when his longtime friend Travis Chick suggested they go into business growing hemp. 

"I've always loved working in the yard, putting my hands in the soil," Mantz said. "And I always thought if I was never in the Navy, that farming could be a passion of mine. Not that I know much about it, but I was eager to learn."

The work was hard and bad weather hit, according to Mantz. But they succeeded.

"It was the hottest summer in history out there," he told the council. "And we had two hurricanes hit the field... So a couple old retired guys, myself and a contractor who's retired, out there working five acres... about killed us."

They sent their crop to a company in Oregon, which converted it into CBD oil. Mantz said the extraction process takes a great deal of processing work, so his facility will not do that in Chesapeake.

Instead his facility will operate like a large kitchen, with a planned staff of about 10 people.

The 2018 Farm Bill made hemp-derived CBD products legal in all 50 states. Hemp plants have a much lower level of THC than marijuana plants. THC is the chemical responsible for the bulk of marijuana's psychological effects.

His company needs approval from the Virginia Department of Agricultural to make dietary supplements. Right now, the laws around his product are in a state of flux, Mantz said.

"The laws are constantly changing and they change from state to state," he said. "So once President (Donald) Trump in 2018 signed the agricultural farm bill that made hemp legal, it kind of became the wild, wild west real quick."

Mantz expects to start operations sometime in October.