Arkansas’ newest medical marijuana processor is Breck Speed, the former CEO of Mountain Valley Spring Water in Hot Springs and a man with a name known across the business world in Arkansas.
High Speed Extracts was granted a processing license Thursday evening by the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission, the sixth such license in the state.
Speed told Arkansas Business on Friday that he expects High Speed to be up and running in about 60 days, working on a range of products but focusing on Speed’s specialty, beverages.
“It’s all about processing cannabis for dispensaries in the state of Arkansas, for both local and national cannabis brands,” Speed said in a telephone interview. He’s open to discussing any kind of products that command a market, he said, “but as you know, my expertise is in beverages. We have another company based in Texas that works with different cannabis companies, both hemp companies as well as cannabis companies across the country to create beverages.”
High Speed Extracts will be in Garland County, though Speed wouldn’t name the specific site, revealing only that it will be in a facility that has processed hemp products in the past. “We’ve got a building that we’re leasing that was previously used for hemp, so it has a lot of the stuff in place already. We've got to do some things to upgrade the facility to meet our standards. Initially, but I'd say [operations will begin] within the next 60 days.”
According to state records, Speed is the sole owner of High Speed Extracts.
Speed also said he was already in a beverage agreement with a legal California processing company, “but now in Arkansas, we can be that legal processor.”
“Our company has intellectual property related to water solubility for beverages,” Speed said. “Where it’s hemp, we can of course handle all of that ourselves because we’re licensed hemp processors. You can ship that across state lines, but with cannabis, like in Arkansas, you can’t ship across state lines. You have to be licensed in every state or you have to enter into an agreement with an existing [cannabis] license holder to license and use our intellectual property.”
He said the rules are complex, but “those are the hoops we have to jump through in this cannabis world.”
He expects High Speed Extracts to have about six employees initially, but for now the number is “squishy.”
Speed comes from a line of entrepreneurs in trucking. His father, the late James Breckinridge Speed, also known as Breck, was chairman of USA Truck; his grandfather, Robert A. Young Jr., was founder of Arkansas Best Corp. in Fort Smith, now ArcBest.
Breck Speed himself founded Veriplas Containers of Hot Springs and West Memphis and is managing partner of Beverage Support Group, a limited liability corporation on file with the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office.
Asked about his hopes for the company, Speed replied with a laugh, “Well, we hope to make money. It’s a piece of our overall puzzle, and I was giving you the big picture. We were working in a lot of other states across the country, sometimes in cannabis, but largely in hemp-derived products. Now we’ll be a little bit more vertically integrated in Arkansas.”