By: Briana Whitney
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Hemp production will be legal for farmers in Arizona starting May 31st, and one Phoenix farm is preparing for their lives to change because of it.
Tomatoes are simply part of the family at Abby Lee Farms. They have been for decades.
“I started when I was 13," said owner Neal Brooks. "So, 44 years.”
Brooks has made a living selling his tomatoes, flowers and even some pickles in Arizona.
But his three farms will never look the same starting this week. He is about to give up farming tomatoes and flowers almost entirely.
“You don’t believe it until you start seeing these investors actually writing checks," said Brooks. "And that’s what’s happening now.”
He’s about to start farming hemp at his Arizona farms on May 31st, the first day it's legal in Arizona.
They'll eventually make CBD products, and sell them at their Phoenix farm.
“We’re going to open this place up to the public," said Brooks. "We want it to be like a Disneyland of hemp.”
They'll start by bringing over mother plants he's been growing in Colorado. Then they will use technology to make 4 million clones of the plants to grow this year alone.
And if you think that's a lot, talk about a whole lot more money.
“We’re looking at an investment of about 8 million dollars in the next 90 days," Brooks said. "That’s just one farm.”
In a couple of years, hemp production is projected to be a 22 billion dollar market, Brooks also shared.
The technology they've used on their hydroponic tomatoes is nearly identical to what they need to farm the hemp. They can use what they already have to make profits more than ever before.
“We’ll make more next year than we’ve made in 44 years,” said Brooks.
Once the hemp is planted, it's a waiting game to see if this all works.
“This first year or two you’ve really gotta have guts,” said Brooks.
Confident it will pay off in huge ways, Brooks' farm is ready for the risk.
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