After an unsuccessful bid to become district attorney, Seth Carey is taking on an entirely different line of work.
These days, heâ€™s busy digging one deep hole after another on a couple of acres outside Rumford where he hopes about 800 hemp plants will flourish between now and the chill of autumn.
â€śObviously, I have a lot more time on my hands,â€ť Carey said, and heâ€™s determined to use the opportunity to tackle one of his long-term ideas.
Carey said Thursday that he plans to use the non-intoxicating marijuana extract CBD, derived from the plantâ€™s flowers, to create an oil he can use in a new line of herbal teas and organic skin-care products.
With luck, he said, he can earn a living from them.
Carey, who is challenging the suspension of his license to practice law, said heâ€™s been trying off and on for years to develop a line of skin-care products under the Sun Made label.
Whatâ€™s held him back, he said, was the lack of biodegradable packaging. He said heâ€™s finally found something that will do the trick so he hopes to have sunscreen and lipstick available on the market in the coming months, all of them â€śMade in the Mountains of Maine.â€ť
He is also working on an all-natural tea that would include leaves from hemp along with leaves from his parentsâ€™ garden, including raspberry, plum, pear and blackberry plants.
Carey said he has a tea machine on order thatâ€™s reached New York and ought to be in Maine before long. It will package the mix of leaves into permeable teabags.
Carey said the prospect of adding CBD â€” which some people think has healing qualities â€” ought to spur interest in products heâ€™s been tinkering with for a long time. With the hemp-derived oil, he said, there is â€śamazing potential.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s all sort of come together,â€ť Carey said, now that growing hemp is legal.
Even so, he said, heâ€™s â€śnot looking to do something on a large scale,â€ť at least for the time being. He said he simply wants to grow plants he can use in his products and then find a market for them.
Carey said his parents are great gardeners so he has some familiarity with what theyâ€™ve done. But heâ€™s still learning about farming.
For instance, he said, he tried out a tractor not long ago and wound up getting a quick lesson in its use.
â€śGetting stuck in the mud, that is a nightmare,â€ť Carey said. He eventually realized that the only way to get moving again was to have a winch yank the tractor back to dry land.
Mostly, though, Carey said heâ€™s been digging holes on his own for the plants he acquired. Itâ€™s â€śback-breaking work,â€ť he said, but he got lucky in having a field with few rocks.
He said he got about 600 plants initially but has to pull out all of the males so the females donâ€™t get pollinated. A neighbor gave him 500 more plants, Carey said.
The plants, Carey said, are â€śgrowing awesome.â€ť
Despite the labor required, which has him in the fields daily, Carey said, he finds the work fun because it gets him outside. Heâ€™s managed to lose 15 to 20 pounds in the process.
His friends are taking note.
â€śTheyâ€™re jealous of my tan,â€ť Carey said.