CBD business eyeing Danville isn’t a sure thing yet

Published 7:06 pm Monday, July 22, 2019

Even though a hemp processing facility announced it was coming to Danville, it’s still not a definite deal.

Jody Lassiter, president and CEO of the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership said even though the state released information about preliminary incentives available to International Farmaceutical Extracts LLC, and the location of one of its proposed processing plants, “The project’s not guaranteed, so we still are in the financing phase.” Lassiter was speaking to the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau regular meeting Monday morning.

“We’re still working very closely with our CBD oil, hemp project. We’re just focusing on a building on Roy Arnold Boulevard that they’d like to take advantage of in the opportunity zone. … It becomes public information after the state takes its action. But the fact is, we’ve got many steps to go, and the building hasn’t been secured yet. … This is a wild west business right now. It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out,” Lassiter said. “I think it’s good for Danville to have a part of that, because it can continue to build upon itself.”

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CVB board member Cindy Simmons said, “It’s good to see the jumps on the wagon,” as other surrounding states and communities embrace the resurgence of the hemp business. “…You go out to North Carolina … they (CBD businesses) are just everywhere. You can’t turn without hitting a shop somewhere.”

CVB executive director Jennifer Kirchner said Kentucky hemp “is a certain variety, it’s from a certain region, it’s grown in a certain way. And Kentucky actually has some of the best fertile land.”

“It really is a huge marketing opportunity.” Kirchner said, especially since the hemp crop was historically significant in Danville at one time. “There is so much about it that is a gift for economic development in terms of tourism and jobs. … That’s a good band wagon to jump on for sure.”

Lassiter said, “That’s why I’m hoping we can continue to build upon that.”

For example, “I think we really need to jump into it and do something along the lines of ‘hemp-apalooza’ or a hemp festival. But we have to do it in the right way.”

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to kind of get out in the front of it. I mean, it was grown here first, literally, west of the Appalachian Mountains … at least recorded … so I think it would be nice if we could do something like that and kind of get out in front of it,” Lassiter said.

Then he told the board that whatever may be decided to do to promote hemp in this area, “We have to be careful,” so that it’s definitely hemp being promoted and not “all the stuff that the Grateful Dead and Ziggy Marley and all those folks are going to bring to town.”