KENTUCKY (WEHT) – Governor Andy Beshear updated Kentuckians on Thursday on economic development in the commonwealth as well as steps being taken on medical cannabis.

Economic momentum

Governor Beshear highlighted four companies that are investing more than $30 million in projects combined and are expected to create 114 jobs.

Augusta Distillery LLC’s new operation in Bracken County is expected to create 14 jobs for Kentucky residents with a $23 million investment. Lexmark International Inc. announced plans to invest $4 million to establish a solar panel array and educational greenspace area at its corporate headquarters in Lexington. Ethos Laboratories will expand its presence in Campbell County with a more than $2.2 million investment. Legacy Metals LLC will also grow its current operation with a $1.2 million expansion to create 100 jobs for local residents.

Medical cannabis update

Governor Beshear said that despite wide public support, legislation on medical cannabis was not passed by the General Assembly. Gov. Beshear announced the following four steps his administration is taking on the topic of medical cannabis:

  • Governor Beshear asked his general counsel to begin analyzing options under the law for the governor to consider regarding executive action on medical cannabis.
  • Establishing the Governor’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Team.
  • He will ask the advisory team to travel around the state and listen to what Kentuckians have to say about medical cannabis.
  • The governor also established a way for Kentuckians to communicate with his office on the topic. Kentuckians can email the team at GovMedicalCannabisAdvisoryTeam@ky.gov

As of February 2022, a total of 37 states, Washington D.C., Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands regulate cannabis for medical use by qualified individuals.

Team Kentucky All Stars

Governor Beshear also honored Kentucky State Police teams along with the Wolfe County Search and Rescue and Red STAR Wilderness EMS after a first of its kind rescue in the Red River Gorge using a state police helicopter on Tuesday. Two canoers were rescued from the river amid freezing temperatures and heavy rain.

“This mission and rescue is extraordinary and this couple is alive today because law enforcement agencies showed some Team Kentucky spirit by working together with one goal in mind – like they do every single day – to protect and serve all Kentuckians no matter the emergency,” Gov. Beshear said.

Today’s All-Stars are: Hoist Operator KSP Sgt Jason Denny; Rescue Specialist KSP Trooper Todd Coleman; KSP pilots Captain Brad Austin, Trooper David Long, Trooper Zack Lusk, Kerry Salyers and Ken Abbott; David Fifer, the paramedic/rescue specialist who was lowered to the canoers; Jeremy Urekew, the paramedic aboard the helicopter; and Mike Hackett, nurse/rescue specialist, who assisted in mission coordination.