The leadership behind Mile High Labs, one of the world’s largest CBD companies, has opted to locate a new base in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The company’s executive, mindful of Brexit, have decided to shrewdly locate their UK-EU-oriented business in the North of Ireland, where the ‘Backstop’ arrangement could very likely make serving European markets easier than on Britain.
Businesses, both domestic and international, have been faced with a very unclear future since the UK voted to leave the EU by a narrow margin in the summer of 2016. The nature of that departure has been a subject of great strife ever since, and much of the problem centres around the status of Northern Ireland in a new political arrangement.
At the moment there is a drive towards a unique status for Northern Ireland to remain within the EU’s Single Market while still retaining its political union with London. That would facilitate more companies judiciously placing some or all of their operations in the province.
The company is still looking to provide a London operation but its “international beachhead” distribution centre in Belfast will have its own team covering its products throughout Europe.
The Denver, Colorado-based company said the Belfast office, which currently employs nine people, would allow the CBD operator to have a low-cost distribution centre for its British and European markets, as well as ensuring it paid a comparatively low level of corporation tax.
John Wallace, the company’s managing director for the UK and EU, said opening in Belfast meant the company could future proof itself against the UK’s intended exit from the European Union.
“We have access to both the UK and the EU here, crossing what is currently a very soft border, so it makes sense to be here,” he said. “Also, Northern Ireland has lots of very clever people ― it’s our biggest export market ― so we can get people with influence at universities who work with cannabinoids.
“As well as that, it’s an inexpensive place to set things up, and we’ve had a lot of support from Invest NI [Northern Ireland’s regional economic development agency].”
The company is also set on opening an office in central London. Christian Hendriksen, Mile High director of operations for Europe, said the firm was “very close” to opening its London office.
“It should be this week,” he said. “Going forward, we’ll also want to open up into Continental Europe. Belfast will support the London office, with things like distribution and HR.”
Mile High produces and distributes CBD pills, capsules, CBD gummies, CBD vape oils and pens and CBD lotions to name but some from an extensive CBD products list.
Companies, mindful of the potential negative outcomes of Brexit, are starting to consider the workaround that is the Northern Irish backstop. Mile High, a top US CBD company, is to use Belfast as a strategically important base for serving EU and UK operations, with a London office to open later, as more clarity emerges politically and economically.