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Konopie looks to grow awareness of hemp benefits

By Kat Halfman
Staff Intern

BROWN COUNTY – From growing up on a small Brown County dairy farm to being a leader in the hemp industry, Mark Rozmarynoski, owner of Konopie, LLC, said love and appreciation is what it takes to be part of the movement.

After working seven days a week on his family farm for most of his childhood, Rozmarynoski said he left to work in construction to earn more money.

He said he learned about hemp from a coworker while on the job.

“I was on a job site tour with another guy, and his dad was actually helping the Wisconsin State Legislature write the hemp pilot program,” he said. “It intrigued me as another crop we could bring to the farm, and that’s how I started researching hemp.”

Rozmarynoski said 2018 was the first year Wisconsin legalized hemp.

“At that point, we started understanding the hemp plant and realizing it’s more than just THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol),” he said. “There are actually 114 cannabinoids in the plant that our health benefits from. We started writing a business plan, and that’s how I met Paul (Renard).”

With the business plan complete, Rozmarynoski said he began growing hemp in 2018, and by 2019, Konopie, LLC was born.

He said his favorite part about farming hemp comes down to two factors – watching the plants grow and helping people change their lives.

Mark Rozmarynoski said plants start off in a greenhouse, and are transplanted into the field once they sprout.

The process
Rozmarynoski said the plants are started from seed in a greenhouse, and once they successfully sprout, they’re transplanted into the field.

He said fields are tended to regularly to ensure none of the plants develop into males, which don’t produce the flowered bud needed for oil extraction.

Once the plants are ready to harvest, which happens toward the end of summer, Rozmarynoski said they’re pulled from the ground by a machine, and then the bud is removed from the plant stalk by hand.
He said the plant matter has to dry for several days before it can be soaked in ethanol to extract the oil from the buds.

After the oil is extracted and used to make capsules, edibles and more, Rozmarynoski said the plant matter is turned into feed for livestock and the plant stalks are repurposed into bedding, ensuring that no part of the plant goes to waste.

He said Konopie’s greenhouse, farm fields and CBD oil are all certified organic, and all planting, harvesting and extracting is done on the farm, which ensures the highest level of oversight and traceability throughout the entire process.

From capsules, edibles and oil to livestock feed and animal bedding, Mark Rozmarynoski said they ensure that no part of the plant goes to waste.

Some stigmatism associated with hemp/CBD
Rozmarynoski said the stigma around hemp is still very much present, especially in Wisconsin.

“Growing up in rural Wisconsin… drinking was a part of every family function, but if you mention THC, there’s a huge stigma against it,” he said. “But I had grown up always questioning everything.”

Rozmarynoski said he always believed there was a more natural way of healing and growing crops.

“We’re organic certified here – we don’t use any chemicals, pesticides or herbicides,” he said. “We actually have an inspection coming up to certify that.”

Rozmarynoski said in all honesty, he too, had his misunderstanding about the plant at first.

“Even five years ago, if you would have told me about medical marijuana, I still would have said, ‘No, that’s just an excuse for people to get high,’” he said. “But then you start realizing the benefits of THC taken in the right amounts, and not just alone, but with CBD and the other cannabinoids, the full entourage effect, and you start going down the rabbit hole of how it can treat cancer, Lyme disease – all kinds of diseases.”

Renard said the body responds to cannabinoids.

“When an area of your body gets enough, the receptors basically shut down and it just goes through your tract and gets rid of it, which is why you can’t overdose on it like other (controlled substances),” he said.

Rozmarynoski said all mammals can also benefit from the CBD/THC in hemp, however, since animals have a much lower tolerance than humans for CBD/THC, they need less for it to be effective.

“We started making pellets for livestock out of our leftover (post-extraction) plant matter and had huge success, especially with older horses,” he said. “I notice the difference everywhere from the demeanor of horses and how happy they are to how beef tastes,” he said.

The impact
Rozmarynoski said for him, the positive impacts Konopie products have had on its clients means everything.

He said some customers suffering from PTSD as a result of military and law enforcement service have had great success with Konopie products.

J.C., a 45-year-old ex-cop who lives in Michigan, served as an officer for 22 years, eventually making it to the rank of sergeant in charge of the K-9 unit.

He was diagnosed with PTSD in 2016, and removed from law enforcement due to his mental health in November 2021.

“I’ve experienced constant anxiety, panic, flashbacks, trouble sleeping and even went through a period of suicidal ideations,” J.C. said.

Though prescribed medication for anxiety and sleep by doctors for six years, he said he wasn’t finding any relief.

J.C. said he didn’t know about the benefits of CBD or hemp could offer him until earlier this year.
“I experienced a panic attack and was out of options,” he said. “In a period of desperation, I took a THC gummy edible that was given to me by a relative… Up until this point, I had refused to take them, but I’m glad this moment of desperation forced me to experiment, as it has been the best thing for me and my anxiety. A good friend of mine introduced me to Konopie Delta 9 gummies in February of 2022, and I have taken them religiously since.”

J.C. said he has been able to stop taking some of his prescriptions and has more control of his anxiety.

“I feel calmness and my sleep has been great,” he said.

J.L.Z., a 53-year-old Gulf War veteran, is 100% disabled following a construction accident in 1995.

“I fought in the Gulf 31 years ago, and I’ve seen more than most will ever see in a lifetime,” he said. “I’ve seen things that most people can’t imagine seeing.”

When J.L.Z. got out of the service, he said he became a compulsive alcoholic.

“(Back then), I did not know what PTSD even was,” he said. “I drank to make things better and it cost me a (marriage).”

Eventually, J.L.Z. said he quit drinking, but was still plagued by anxiety, depression and nightmares.
He said when he reached out to the Department of Veterans Affairs he was given prescriptions for his depression, anxiety and nightmares, which he didn’t feel helped.

“Roughly six months ago, I had a friend that asked me if I ever tried CBD oil or gummies,” he said. “I got mad, bucked at life and refused, saying ‘That is not me!’”

However, after doing some research and talking with family members and others in similar situations, J.L.Z. said he decided to give it a shot.

“I really did not have any more to lose at this point,” he said. “There’s not enough words on paper in the world to tell you how it’s helped me. My life was tunnel vision for 31 years of complete hell. I have two things in my life that helped me: my CBD oil and my service dog.”

Rozmarynoski said CBD has physical health benefits as well.

He said a woman he’s known for more than 20 years was diagnosed with cancer and given six months to live.

“She had lost 30 pounds and was on chemo, which makes you completely lose your appetite,” he said. “So, we put her on a higher THC dosage to get her appetite back and she went on to eat for the first time in months, and started enjoying life again.”

Rozmarynoski said he worked with another cancer patient – a 77-year-old woman with bone cancer that had gotten to the point where she elected not to do any more treatment.

“She just wanted to die,” he said. “She didn’t want to endure the morphine and chemo and everything else. It’s been six months now, and she’s not had any new growth of cancer cells. Her doctors are just baffled.”

Rozmarynoski said Konopie, LLC’s main goal is to help its customers achieve their best quality of life.
More information on Konopie, its process, products and where to purchase them can be found at purekonopie.com.

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