Veritas Farms hopes its CBD oil products are coming soon to a store near you.

The Pueblo company is moving to expand its retail footprint - and its assurances of quality and safety - following the recent decision by CVS and Walgreens to carry CBD oil wellness products in select states. Some of Veritas Farms products are already available in select CVS stores, the company says.

"It's huge for the industry in general and it's very big for us specifically," said Veritas Farms Vice President Derek Thomas about the drug store chains' announcements.

"Now you have some national retailers that are carrying the product and it's really going to give the customer a sense of security and safety. ... I think consumers can really take comfort that these national retailers are looking at this."

On its own, Veritas Farms recently took another step to increase public awareness of the quality and safety of its products, Thomas said.

The company began adding batch-unique QR codes to all of its packaging, which link to verifiable Certificates of Analysis from the company's network of third-party testing laboratories. The reports provide data on potency and purity.

"We are providing a full Certificate of Analysis on every one of our products. ... We are really upping the transparency for ourselves and what we hope are the good actors in space," Thomas said.

The  redesigned product labels also offer more information on ingredients, flavoring and aromas.

Alexander Salgado, chief executive of Veritas Farms, said in a statement that the company seeks 'ultimate product transparency" to inform consumers and distinguish "our high-quality Veritas Farms products from lesser quality competitors on the market."

Two weeks ago, Walgreens and CVS confirmed they are permitting stores in Colorado and eight other states to carry hemp-based wellness products, such as tinctures, salves and lotions. The other states are Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, South Carolina and Vermont.

The move follows Congress' decision to fully lift the ban on industrial hemp cultivation, processing and sales in the U.S. Previously, select states, including Colorado, permitted the sales under a Congress-approved pilot project.

Pueblo and nearby counties in Southern Colorado are considered one of the nation's top sites for the industrial hemp industry due to the area's growing conditions and support of the industry. Other uses for industrial hemp include textiles, rope, clothing, shoes, food, paper, insulation and other building materials, bioplastics and biofuel.

The 40-worker Veritas Farms launched in 2015 and operates a farm, greenhouse, lab and production center at a 160-acre complex on Highway 96 west of Lake Pueblo. The company conducts on-site testing during each phase of the growing, extraction and manufacturing of its products.

The company currently sells its products on its website at theveritasfarms.com and at independent retailers and some select CVS stores. Marketed as farm-to-table full-spectrum CBD oil, its product lineup includes tinctures, salves, lotions, gummies, capsules, lip balm and massage oil.

Thomas, who is based at the company's headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said a listing of specific CVS stores selling Veritas Farms products was not immediately available for release.

Of the nearly 50 CVS stores in Colorado, most operate in the Denver metro area with five in the Colorado Springs area. There aren't any CVS stores in the Pueblo area.

Walgreens is the bigger chain in Colorado, with upward of 250 stores in 57 cities statewide, including five stores in the Pueblo area, according to its website.

The competition for retail shelf space is expected to be heavy as more companies enter the market.

Recently, Colorado Springs-based Folium Biosciences signaled its plans for major growth with the purchase of the large Andrews Foodservice warehouse in Pueblo West, to be remodeled into a hemp oil extraction facility employing 150 people or more.

CBD, the abbreviated term for cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating molecule found in hemp and marijuana. Both are cannabis plants but only marijuana has enough of the compound THC to get users high. CBD oil is extracted when plants are processed.

Sellers and users say the wellness benefits of CBD include help with pain, anxiety, inflammation, insomnia and other health concerns. Scientific research on the claims is in its infancy.

ddarrow@chieftain.com

Twitter: @PuebloBusiness