Those who overdose on heroin or other opioid drugs in Kentucky’s largest population areas would be immediately detained by first responders and taken to a hospital under a bill that has passed the House.

For Immediate Release

March 20, 2018

Opioid overdose bill goes to Senate

FRANKFORT—Those who overdose on heroin or other opioid drugs in Kentucky’s largest population areas would be immediately detained by first responders and taken to a hospital under a bill that has passed the House.

House Bill 428, sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, would specifically apply to overdose victims in Lexington, Louisville, or areas like Northern Kentucky where adjoining counties each have populations over 90,000.

Moser, who is the director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, said the need for the bill was brought to her attention by first responders who she said are often called to resuscitate the same person for opioid overdose multiple times. Moser said there were over 15,100 emergency medical runs requiring resuscitation due to opioid overdoses in Kentucky last year, not counting more than 2,000 runs in Jefferson County alone.

First responders “brought this issue to me because they are unable to get the folks into treatment when they are resuscitated,” said Moser. “These folks wake up and they are able to just get up and walk away and refuse treatment” even though she said they may still be under the influence of drugs.

“They need to get to a hospital for stabilization, referral to treatment and further treatment and this is what this bill seeks to do,” said Moser.

Failure to receive appropriate treatment for opioid overdose often leads to death, with 1,404 deaths from opioid overdose reported in Kentucky in 2016 alone, said Moser.

“Death is a distinct possibility with opioid overdoses,” she said.

HB 428 passed the House on a 92-3 vote. It now goes to the Senate for its consideration.



For Immediate Release

March 21, 2018

Standards-for-treatment disorders bill goes to governor

FRANKFORT— A bill that would attack Kentucky’s opioid crisis through better state substance use disorder treatment and recovery program standards has received final passage in the Kentucky House.

House Bill 124, sponsored by House Health and Family Services Committee Chair Rep. Addia Wuchner, R-Florence, and Rep. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, would require enhanced licensure and quality standards for substance use disorder treatment and recovery after a state review of current statewide standards, subject to available funding. Enhanced standards would cover residential, outpatient and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services, according to the bill.

Wuchner said she has traveled the state visiting treatment and recovery centers and found that some programs have “a lot of dynamics and a lot of differences.”

“That doesn’t mean that every program has to be the same, but there should be components of that program that are consistent with best practices,” said Wuchner.

HB 124 was amended in the Senate on a 36-0 vote late last week to include FDA-approved MAT treatment for inmates who are opioid-dependent or who have other substance abuse disorders.

“As some of those products that are used for medically-assisted treatment come to market and come to bear, there are more products now that could be used in the corrections environment that minimize diversion, and that’s why this piece was added,” said Wuchner.

HB 124 received final passage in the House today on a vote of 93-0. The bill was initially passed in the House on an 85-2 vote in January. 



Proposal for legal medical marijuana held hostage by Kentucky House GOP leadership

Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal Published 3:20 p.m. ET March 20, 2018

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says legislation that would legalize medical marijuana is being held hostage by the state House of Representatives’ Republican leadership.

House Bill 166, which is sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, would let qualifying patients diagnosed with certain health conditions use medical marijuana, although limits would apply to patients and to the people and businesses growing and selling the drug.

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 166 earlier this month but decided to pass over the proposal – a move that allows it to reconsider and rule on the matter later on in the 2018 session, which ends in mid-April. But the number of days during which the legislature can pass laws is dwindling.

“House Bill 166 continues to gain bipartisan support. One in four members of the House are now sponsors,” Grimes, a Democrat, wrote Tuesday afternoon in a post on her official Facebook page. “These legislators realize medical cannabis can help save lives and provide new funding to Kentucky so we don’t have to balance budgets on the backs of our teachers and public employees. Yet, GOP House Leadership is holding the bill hostage in the Judiciary Committee.”

Grimes wrote that the bill’s sponsors shouldn’t have to rely on a discharge petition – which can be filed in advance of an attempt to take a bill from a committee – in order to a force a vote on “something an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians support.”

“If the GOP House Leadership refuses to call a vote, constituents are only left to wonder what motivates them to ignore the will of the people,” she wrote.

State Rep. Joe Fischer, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Courier Journal the committee’s members already voted on HB 166 when they decided to pass over it.

Fischer said he would talk to committee members but noted that he hasn’t seen any amendments to the original bill, which did not have enough support to get a ‘yes’ vote from the group. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, HB 166 wasn’t on the agenda for the committee’s Wednesday meeting, according to Fischer.

“I’ve been accused of holding it hostage, but there was a vote on it,” said Fischer, R-Fort Thomas. “Right now … it was to pass over the bill.”

Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, made the motion to pass over HB 166 on March 7. At the time, he said he wanted to help improve the measure and bring it back for consideration before the session ends. Since then, he has become a sponsor of the bill.

Grimes issued a separate statement last week that said the medical marijuana legislation had been revised. Jaime Montalvo, of the nonprofit organization Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, said he has been working with sponsors of HB 166 and a substitute version of the bill is ready.

Rep. John Sims Jr., D-Flemingsburg, said he did file a discharge petition Tuesday, which was signed by 27 representatives.

“It’s an important bill that has lots of momentum throughout the whole state,” Sims said.

Discharge petitions can prompt the full chamber to vote on whether a committee has held a particular bill “for an unreasonable time,” according to the House’s procedural rules. (HB 166 was sent to the House Judiciary Committee for review in mid-January.)

If a majority of the House agrees a bill has been held too long, the legislation then can be released from that committee. That doesn’t guarantee it will be debated and voted upon by the full House, though.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, said Grimes’ assertion that House leaders are holding medical marijuana legislation hostage is “absolutely not true” and suggested Grimes study up on the legislative process.

When asked if House leadership would be interested in bringing the medical marijuana bill to the floor of the chamber for a vote, Osborne said he’s sure they would take appropriate action if it were discharged from the committee.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, Sims — a key sponsor of the bill — said it’s highly likely HB 166 will die when the 2018 session officially ends next month.

“There’s not enough time left to get it through both chambers,” Sims said.

If the bill stalls out as Sims expects, he said legislation to legalize medical marijuana will be reintroduced when the legislature reconvenes next January for the 2019 session.

“We’re not giving up, and the fight will continue,” he said, noting the need to maintain the momentum that has built behind the push for medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Morgan Watkins: 502-582-4502;; Twitter: @MorganWatkins. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:



Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana

More information as it becomes available…

The House Republican budget plan includes a hike in the cigarette tax and a new tax on dosages of opioid drugs…

Plan would raise Kentucky’s cigarette tax above $1 per pack to pay for education

Tom Loftus, Louisville Courier Journal Published 7:53 p.m. ET Feb. 27, 2018

Plan would raise cigarette taxes above $1 per pack to pay for education

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The House Republican budget plan includes a hike in the cigarette tax and a new tax on dosages of opioid drugs to help restore funding for education, according to two House Democrats.

House Democratic Whip Dennis Keene, of Wilder, and Rep. Kelly Flood, of Lexington, said they were among a group of Democrats given an advance briefing late Tuesday afternoon on the budget plan of the majority Republicans.

Keene and Flood said in separate phone interviews that they were told House Republicans will propose to come up with additional money through a 50-cent increase in Kentucky’s 60-cent per pack cigarette tax and a new tax of 25 cents per dosage of opioid drugs.

“The new dollars generated are targeted for education …” Flood said. “The lobbying effort and citizen engagement on the part of teachers, superintendents, principals, parents and students has paid off.”

Keene and Flood said they were told the new revenue would allow the budget to increase funding for the main public school program known as SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) as well as restore much, if not all, of the cut that Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget would have made in funding to school districts for student transportation.

Background: Here are the 70 programs not funded by Bevin’s proposed budget

More: Some Kentucky schools could fail under Bevin’s proposed budget

Keene said that Rep. Steven Rudy, the Paducah Republican who chairs the House budget committee, and House Republican Leader Jonathan Shell, of Lancaster, briefed Democratic leaders and Democrats on the budget committee.

Keene said, “It’s not all crystal clear. … The briefing lasted about an hour and we weren’t given anything in writing.”

Flood also said the House GOP budget plan will restore some funding that Bevin’s proposal would have cut from state universities and would address the problem of the governor’s failure to fund health insurance for teachers who retired since July 1, 2010, but have not turned 65 and become eligible for Medicaid.

“If I understood that correctly, that issue (retired teacher health insurance) is being addressed, but in another way that may not be in this budget bill,” Flood said.

Earlier Tuesday, Rudy told reporters that his committee planned to meet Wednesday afternoon and release its revised version of the 2018-2020 budget bill. He also said the committee would consider a revenue bill.

But both Rudy and House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, declined to provide any details. Also, each was asked if the revenue bill included any cigarette tax or opioid tax provisions, and they declined to comment.

In January, Bevin proposed an austere budget that would fully fund the state’s huge pension obligations and that he said would put Kentucky’s financial house in order. But to do so, Bevin said he was required to slash spending to most parts of government and eliminate funding for 70 specific smaller state programs.

That proposal was met by a storm of objections — particularly from school districts that would be saddled with additional costs, particularly for student transportation.

Flood said Democrats were told at the meeting that a 50 cent increase in the cigarette tax would raise about $127 million in the first year of the budget, and $110 million the second year.

She said the tax on dosages of opioids would be applied at the wholesale level and generate about $70 million per year.

Flood also said the plan calls for eliminating a $10 per person tax credit on the individual income tax, a move that would generate about $55 million per year.

While encouraged by the move to raise revenue, Flood said she’s disappointed that the plan is based on revenue sources like tobacco that will decline over time. “This is not tax reform, modernization or matching our taxes where consumers are spending more today on services,” she said.

She said she’d have to consider all aspects of the budget and revenue bills before deciding whether to vote for them. “I will vote for increased revenue if I think we’re doing the right thing overall,” she said.

Flood is uncertain whether a budget plan bolstered by small tax increases could pass the Republican House and, later, the Republican Senate. But she noted that the increases proposed for cigarettes and opioids would not be so politically unpopular.

“After all, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce is on record for supporting a $1 increase in the cigarette tax,” she said.

Health advocates have been pushing for legislation that would raise the cigarette tax by $1 a pack — a big increase that they say would significantly reduce teen smoking.

Tom Loftus:; Twitter: @TomLoftus_CJ. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today:


Sally Oh was Live on Facebook: “Medical Cannabis, States’ Rights & the Civil War”


Sally Oh

Above is the LINK to Sally Oh’s live video on Facebook explaining States Rights and the medical cannabis war.

There is also an article at this LINK from the Tenth Amendment Center which explains States Rights.

States Don’t Have to Comply: The Anti-Commandeering Doctrine

Laws passed in pursuance of the Constitution do stand as the supreme law of the land. But that doesn’t in any way imply the federal government lords over everything and everybody in America. LINK



There is also a very good layout of the Kentucky Cannabis Bills for 2018 at the KENTUCKY FREE PRESS website.  Here is that LINK.


(KY) This Week at the State Capitol (Jan. 29 – Feb. 2)

February 2, 2018

This Week at the State Capitol (Jan. 29 – Feb. 2)

Pace quickens in second month of legislative session

FRANKFORT – As lawmakers enter the second month of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2018 session, action already has been taken on a number of fronts that could have impacts across the state.

Lawmakers have approved a measure to allow Kentuckians to vote in November on a proposed state constitutional amendment to create what’s been referred to as a “bill of rights” for crime victims.

Budget subcommittees are digging into the details of the governor’s proposed spending plan to fully understand the potential impact of proposed cuts, as well as certain areas where spending increases are proposed. In the coming weeks, lawmakers will begin weighing which parts of the budget plan they want to adjust to make sure the final plan is one that matches their priorities for the state.

Meanwhile, almost 300 bills have been introduced for consideration in the Senate and House. The amount of legislation moving through the process will continue growing each day up as more bills are filed and advanced through the legislative committee system.

Bills that took steps forward this week include:

· Senate Bill 37 would allow some nonviolent federal prisoners to get driver’s licenses so they can work outside of prison walls. SB 37 would also amend current law to included federal prisoners under existing regulations that allow state prisoners to receive driver’s licenses or identification cards upon release. SB 37 passed the Senate by a 36-0 vote. The measure now goes to the House for further consideration.

· House Bill 52 would require any child under age 12 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle. While the bill does not impose fines for not wearing a helmet, the intent is to increase safety for children while cycling. After passing the House Transportation Committee, HB 52 now goes to the full House for consideration.

· Under House Bill 84, coroners or medical examiners would be required to verify the organ and tissue donation wishes of a deceased person in their care. Such information is now released by coroners and medical examiners to Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates upon the group’s request, but the intent of this bill is to increase urgency in this process. HB 84 passed the House by a vote of 88-0 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.

· Senate Bill 68 would clarify that a victim of domestic violence is not required to pay divorce costs of a spouse locked up for crimes against the petitioner. Under current state law, someone seeking a divorce against an incarcerated person can be held responsible for paying the incarcerated person’s court-appointed lawyer, even when the imprisonment is the result of spousal abuse. This bill was passed by the Senate this week by a 37-0 vote and has been delivered to the House.

· House Bill 132 would require Kentucky public high school students to fulfill a financial literacy requirement to graduate. The bill was approved this week by a vote of 68-24 in the state House and now goes to the Senate.

· ­Senate Bill 72 would curtail the naming of state buildings, roads and bridges after living politicians in Kentucky with the intent to take the politics out of these naming decisions. Passing with a 35-3 vote in the Senate, it now goes to the state House for further consideration.

Legislators are eager to receive feedback on the issues confronting our state. To share your thoughts and ideas with state lawmakers, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181.


(LOUISVILLE, KY) Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime and Fight the Opioid Crisis

Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime and Fight the Opioid Crisis

Louisville, KY – Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thank you, Russel for that introduction, for your leadership in this office, and for your service as an FBI Special Agent.  As a former senator, I am certain that your experience as a hostage negotiator must have been useful for Senator McConnell.  But seriously, you’ve made big sacrifices for this country and I want you to know that we are grateful.  And I am confident that the people of Western Kentucky are in good hands.
Before I say anything else I want to offer my condolences to the people of Kentucky, who are still in mourning over the senseless shooting that took place in Marshall County last week.  This morning Amy Hess, the FBI Special Agent in Charge for Louisville, briefed me on the shooting, and I want you to know that this Department will do whatever we can to be of assistance. Our FBI experts are some of the best but there are no easy answers.
I want to thank you for your hospitality.  This is my 34th visit to a U.S. Attorney’s Office.  I’m always inspired to meet the attorneys, investigators, and officers who are in the trenches every day making us safer.
On behalf of President Trump, I want to thank all of the law enforcement officers who are here with us today.  He strongly supports you and honors what you do.
In particular I want to recognize Commissioner Rick Sanders of the Kentucky State Police.  Rick has taken the lead on the response to last week’s shooting.  I’m honored that you’re here and I want to thank you for your 24 years in the DEA and 40 years of service in law enforcement.  You have made a real difference in this community.
It was largely because of officers like all of you that crime declined in America for 20 years.
From 2014 to 2016, however, the trends reversed.  The violent crime rate went up by nearly seven percent.  Robberies went up.  Assaults went up nearly 10 percent.  Rape went up by nearly 11 percent.  Murder shot up by more than 20 percent.
Meanwhile, our country has suffered the deadliest drug crisis in our history.  More Americans are dying because of drugs than ever before. In 2016, an estimated 64,000 Americans died of drug overdose—one every nine minutes.  That’s roughly the population of Bowling Green dead in one year.  And in 2017 it appears that the death toll was even higher.
For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death.  And millions of Americans are living with the daily struggle of an addiction.
Sadly, Louisville knows this all too well.

The murder rate doubled in Louisville in just two years.  And in December, the Major City Police Chiefs Association of America ranked Louisville as the 11th most dangerous city in the United States.
Meanwhile more people are dying from drug overdoses than ever before.  More than 1,400 Kentuckians died of overdoses in 2016.  Nearly half of these deaths were the result of fentanyl, and a third involved heroin. 
But as we all know, these are not numbers—these are moms, dads, daughters, spouses, friends, and neighbors.
But let me tell you this: we will not stand back and let crime and addiction rise.  Plain and simple, we will not allow the progress made by our women and men in blue over the past two decades to slip through our fingers.  We will not cede one block or one street corner to violent thugs or poison peddlers.
President Trump knows how to give clear orders.  The day I was sworn in as Attorney General, he sent me a simple, straightforward executive order: reduce crime in America.
At the Department of Justice, we embrace that goal.  And you and I know from experience that it can be done.  Crime rates aren’t like the tides—we can take action to help bring them down.
And over the past year, we have taken action.  In 2017, the Department of Justice brought cases against the greatest number of violent criminals in a quarter of a century.  We charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade.  We also arrested and charged hundreds of people suspected of contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis. 
We secured the convictions of nearly 500 human traffickers and 1,200 gang members, and worked with our international allies to arrest or charge more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
MS-13 didn’t like that, by the way.  I saw a news report last week from Voice of America that the MS-13 gang leaders back in El Salvador have taken notice of these efforts.  They know that hundreds of their members are now behind bars.  So now they’re trying to send younger and more violent gang members to the United States to replenish their depleted ranks.
Nationally we are beginning to see positive signs.  In the first six months of last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed significantly and violent crime actually went down.  Publicly available data for the rest of the year suggest further progress.
These are major accomplishments that benefit the American people. And these are your accomplishments.
At the Department of Justice, we are well aware that 85 percent of law enforcement is state, local, and tribal.  These are the authorities that have the critical street level intelligence regarding the criminal element.
We are most effective when these experienced state and local investigators are paired with the resources and expertise of the 15 percent that are our federal law enforcement.
That is the idea behind our crime reduction strategy: Project Safe Neighborhoods, or PSN. PSN encourages U.S. Attorneys’ offices to work with the communities they serve to customize their crime reduction strategies.
And this is a proven model.  One study showed that, in its first seven years, PSN reduced violent crime overall by 4.1 percent, with case studies showing reductions in certain areas of up to 42 percent.  There are Americans who are alive and well today because this program made a difference.
We understand that every district and even every city is different.  I have directed Russell and our other U.S. Attorneys to target the most violent criminals in the most violent areas and to work with local police chiefs, mayors, community groups and victims’ advocates to develop a custom crime reduction plan.  Listening to the people you serve was a winning strategy for me when I was a U.S. Attorney, and I know it will be a winning strategy for you.
In fact, it already is.  Russell and the men and women in this office have done an exemplary job of using this PSN model.  I’m particularly impressed with the Louisville Metro Intelligence—or LMINTEL—which is an intelligence-gathering collaboration between Chris Evans of the DEA, Amy Hess of the FBI, Stuart Lowrey of ATF, the Marshals Service, Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine, and Chief Conrad of Louisville police.
In the past year, LMINTEL has led to 140 arrests.  Just last week, thanks in part to LMINTEL, a felon who threatened to kill a Louisville Police Officer got a substantial sentence in federal court.
Our goal is not to fill up the prisons.  Our goal is to reduce crime, just as President Trump directed us to do.
I’m also impressed with Project Recoil, which is a PSN partnership between ATF, this office, and state, county, and local law enforcement.  The goal is to charge violent offenders with the most serious provable offense—and maximize their sentence.  I’ve seen how you’ve put away felons possessing firearms for 10 and even 15 years.  These successes prevent violence and make would-be criminals think twice.
You’re doing great work for the people of Western Kentucky.
We are right to celebrate these victories.  But we still have a lot more work to do reduce violent crime and turn the tide of the opioid epidemic.
That’s why we are also taking steps to decrease the number of overdose deaths.
For example, in August I announced a new data analytics program – the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit
. I created this unit to focus specifically on opioid-related health care fraud.  It uses data to identify and prosecute individuals that are contributing to this opioid epidemic.  It can tell us important information about prescription opioids—like who is prescribing the most drugs, who is dispensing the most drugs, and whose patients are dying of overdoses.
The numbers don’t lie—even if the fraudsters do.  And now the fraudsters can’t hide.
I have also assigned experienced prosecutors in opioid hot spot districts to focus solely on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related health care fraud. I have sent these prosecutors to where they are especially needed—including Kentucky.
And in November the DEA reorganized its field divisions for the first time in nearly 20 years. 

The Louisville field office is now upgraded to become the Louisville Field Division, with jurisdiction over Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Now I am announcing today that, over the next 45 days, DEA will surge Special Agents, Diversion Investigators, and Intelligence Research Specialists to focus on pharmacies and prescribers who are dispensing unusual or disproportionate amounts of drugs.
DEA collects some 80 million transaction reports every year from manufacturers and distributors of prescription drugs.  These reports contain information like distribution figures and inventory.  DEA will aggregate these numbers to find patterns, trends, statistical outliers—and put them into targeting packages.
That will help us make more arrests, secure more convictions—and ultimately help us reduce the number of prescription drugs available for Americans to get addicted to or overdose from these dangerous drugs.
I want to personally express my deep appreciation and profound thanks to all the women and men of law enforcement and their families, for sacrificing so much and putting your lives on the line every day so that the rest of us may enjoy the safety and security you provide.  We love you and honor your work.
You can be certain about this: we have your back and you have our thanks.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions


Drug Trafficking

Violent Crime


Office of the Attorney General


AgTech’s Diversified, Farmers-First Industrial Hemp Operation to Create 271 Jobs in Bourbon County

Company will work with farmers and UK, make $5M-plus initial investment in Paris facility for developing hemp-based products

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2018) – AgTech Scientific plans to create 271 jobs at a new hemp-products development and manufacturing center in Paris as it forges relationships with Kentucky farmers and partners on research projects with the state’s flagship university, Gov. Matt Bevin announced today.

“AgTech’s plans for Bourbon County put the company at the forefront of realizing Kentucky’s potential as an international leader in hemp production,” said Gov. Bevin. “The fact that their business plan includes groundbreaking research being performed at the University of Kentucky and mutually beneficial partnerships with our state’s farmers holds exciting possibilities for both industrial and agricultural hemp. This would not have been possible without last year’s efforts to better align state law with federal guidelines, which ensure hemp is grown and processed with the utmost transparency and under strict law enforcement supervision.”

AgTech leaders plan to buy 10 acres and a 10-acre option in the Bourbon County Business Park to build a state-of-the-art, 50,000-square-foot facility, expected to open in 2018. The company’s $5 million-plus investment could grow in the future.

AgTech holds a conditionally approved 2018 grower license from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program and intends to partner with Kentucky farmers for largescale hemp production. The company would then extract cannabidiol (CBD) from the locally grown hemp. CBD differs from THC, the intoxicant in marijuana. Initially, the facility would produce an energy drink incorporating a hemp additive and would later expand its product lineup.

In partnership with the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, AgTech is researching potential health benefits of hemp-based additives for animal food. AgTech plans to eventually begin manufacturing pet and equine foods, among other products, contingent on changes to regulations.

Mike French, founder and president of AgTech, said the company chose Kentucky based on agricultural and manufacturing advantages. Increasing hemp yield while reducing risk will be key to building trust in the agricultural community and eventually with consumers, he said.

“Kentucky at one point many years ago was responsible for the vast majority of industrial hemp production,” French said. “The growing conditions are excellent and it’s ideally located geographically and near largescale ‘pick-and-pack’ facilities like Amazon.

“We thought it best to cover the full spectrum, from seed to sale. The best way to do that is to work with the farmer. The state needs to replace tobacco as a cash crop, but growers are used to getting a price before they plant. The problem with industrial hemp has been there is not a known commodity price, or price for quality. We are going to work with Kentucky farmers and guarantee a net price per acre through our Kentucky Farmer Value Added Partnership (KFVAP). If farmers are successful, then AgTech will be successful.”

Founded by Canadian entrepreneurs in 2015, AgTech’s leaders spent the last several years planning and seeking the right location for their company. The opportunity to launch AgTech in a state where hemp has such a rich history in tandem with the state’s largest research institution also made Kentucky attractive.

“Our research partnership with the University of Kentucky will be very important,” French said. “We’ve chosen to start with a three-year study, including actual testing, to better understand taste, effectiveness and overall benefits industrial hemp has for the equine industry and pets.”

Kentucky Department of Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said the addition of AgTech could benefit both rural and urban areas of the state.

“The continued growth and expansion of Kentucky’s nationally renowned hemp industry is creating new markets for our farmers and new jobs for rural as well as urban communities,” Commissioner Quarles said. “We want to thank Governor Bevin and our partners at the University of Kentucky for their continued commitment to growing our agricultural economy. We are thrilled to welcome AgTech to Kentucky.”

Sen. Stephen West, of Paris, said AgTech will make Bourbon County the epicenter of a rebirth in the state’s hemp industry.

“I am proud that AgTech will put Bourbon County on the front line in hemp research and development with its new facility,” Sen. West said. “With the county’s centralized location and ideal growing conditions, I look forward to the success of AgTech’s newest operations and the innovative products they will create for a number of industries.”

Rep. Sannie Overly, of Paris, noted the positive impact the project could have on local farmers.

“It means a lot that Bourbon County and our local farmers will have the opportunity to play a front-line role in the ongoing development of industrial hemp as another major agricultural commodity,” said Rep. Overly. “I appreciate AgTech’s decision to invest in our community and look forward to seeing its innovative ideas become a reality.”

Paris mayor Mike Thornton said AgTech’s approach to hemp creates intriguing possibilities for the company and the community.

“We are excited to partner with the state Economic Development Cabinet and Bourbon County Fiscal Court, to welcome AgTech Scientific to Paris and Bourbon County and look forward to helping them grow and build on their previous successes,” Mayor Thornton said. “Their cutting-edge technology not only creates much needed employment opportunities but offers an exciting new process for industrial hemp that will surely be a huge benefit to our local farmers. With the cooperation of the University of Kentucky, I anticipate seeing great things from AgTech Scientific in the future.”

Bourbon County judge-executive Michael R. Williams said county officials were encouraged by the company’s announcement and optimistic about its plans.

“The Bourbon County Fiscal Court is excited to share in the great news announcing that AgTech Scientific has selected Bourbon County to locate its state of the art facility for its industrial hemp operation,” Judge-Executive Williams said. “Their partnership with the Bourbon County Workforce and Bourbon County Farmers to grow their business will have a tremendous impact on the industry in Kentucky and secure a positive presence for their long term future in Bourbon County. We welcome their investment, their innovative ideas and their vision for the future. It’s great to have AgTech Scientific in Bourbon County.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in January preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $2.4 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

In addition, AgTech can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal year 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.

For more information on AgTech, visit

A detailed community profile for Paris and Bourbon County can be viewed at

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.