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Hemp Oil Extract Manufacturer Zelios Expands Lexington, Kentucky, Production

Zelios, a manufacturer of hemp oil extract, will double production capacity with a $2.1 million investment, creating 44 full-time jobs in Lexington, Kentucky.

According to Governor Matt Bevin’s Office, Zelios’ flagship hemp oil extraction operation opened in April of this year. The facility is equipped with grinding equipment and six 300-liter extraction machines. The expansion will include six new extraction machines, a secondary processing laboratory for further refinement of oil and additional warehouse space. The project comes as market demand increases for refined cannabidiol (CBD) oils.

The company’s supercritical CO2 extraction method yields purified full-spectrum CBD crude oil. The oil contains fats, waxes and terpenes from the original hemp raw material that can be used in balms and lotions, and serves as the base for further refinement for additional CBD-rich products. The new refinement processes will allow the company to winterize raw full-spectrum extract, removing waxes and lipids to create higher-content CBD oil. That more highly refined oil can be used in various consumer products as well as a base for CBD isolate production.

“We are excited to be able to work with the state of Kentucky, the former epicenter of hemp production in the US. Expanding our local manufacturing scale combined with state-of-the-art refinement, including being able to produce THC-free, full-spectrum oil will allow access to national and global markets, helping secure Kentucky as the epicenter of hemp production once again,” said Zelios COO Paul John Baker.

To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $240,000 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, Zelios can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.

“We congratulate Zelios on the expansion of its Lexington operation after opening just four months ago,” Governor Matt Bevin said. “This rapid growth reflects positively on Kentucky’s role as a major player in the burgeoning market for hemp-related products. The success of the hemp industry is a perfect example of how Kentucky is on the cutting-edge of many new economic opportunities.”

Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles said, "The economic impact of our industrial hemp research pilot program continues to grow. With 72 licensed processors and nearly $17 million in products sold last year, Kentucky is well on its way to becoming the epicenter of industrial hemp in the United States.”

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray noted, “Everything old is new again,” Mayor Gray said. “Hemp is an emerging industry in Lexington and Kentucky, but hemp is also a very old industry we’re welcoming back to our city.”

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