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LANCASTER, Pa. — At this point in his journey, Floyd Landis doesn’t care much what you think of him. It won’t change his level of commitment nor waver his endurance. As for the journey itself — the personal peaks, the public valleys — no one really understands that, except maybe Landis himself, but it would seem he’s been to the mountain top and has returned with hard-earned wisdom.

“Sometimes I sit and think about all the things that happened and wonder why at the time I thought that was the right decision,” Landis said during a Lancaster Farming industrial hemp podcast interview. “But as far as redemption goes, I mean people are going to have their opinion about it, and I think if they’re enlightened about what I lived through on a deeper level than just the surface of what was reported on the news, then I think they’d be fairly understanding of it.

“But I can’t make it a goal to try to go out and convince everybody that I’m a great guy. They can have their own opinion and there’s really not much I can do about it. I’ll do my best to demonstrate that that’s the case and we’ll see how it goes.”

He was the local boy who worked hard and made a name for himself, but who fell from grace in a public way. He retreated to the mountains of Colorado to heal from the physical and emotional pain. He had won — and lost — the Tour de France in July of 2006, and then had hip replacement surgery just two months later, a few weeks shy of his 31st birthday.

In Colorado, he discovered the healing components of the hemp plant, and was compelled to share what he found with the world. He founded Floyd’s of Leadville, a CBD café in Leadville, Colorado.

As industrial hemp made its legal journey from prohibition to research plot in Pennsylvania, Landis and his business partner, Jake Sitler, an accomplished cyclist from Lancaster County, dreamed about opening a similar CBD business in Lancaster City. After the 2018 Farm Bill was signed and Pennsylvania opened the state to commercial hemp production in January, Landis and Sitler knew the time was right to make a go of it back home.

“I grew up in Lancaster,” Landis said, “and I’ve had all kinds of experiences and lived all kinds of places, and I think now I appreciate the place more than when I lived there, and I hope that, you know, everybody will give us a chance to show that we’re gonna be legitimate partners.”

Their plan is to contract with local farmers to grow industrial hemp for CBD. They figure they’ll need about 700 acres, but they need to be careful about varieties, plant genetics and growing practices.

Listen to the full podcast interview:

Lancaster Farming