Employees laid off at GenCanna; Company responds

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WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s been a bad fall for industrial hemp company GenCanna in Winchester.

It suffered an explosion and fire damage to a lab in November. Now, ABC36 learned people have lost their jobs just before the holidays.

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Recent ex-employees say the company laid off about 60 of them on Monday.

One employee said they were all offered a small severance of two weeks pay for each year with the company and money for unused PTO days.

One employee says his company health insurance ended at midnight the day he was laid off.

ABC36 reached out to GenCanna. It released this statement: “Hemp market conditions have led GenCanna to responsibly resize our staffing levels as we move our company into the future. Regretfully, we have to say goodbye to a number of valued members of our team. We have paid severance and other benefits as we help them transition into their next role and will continue being supportive of  them in their employment search. GenCanna remains committed to Kentucky and the hemp industry with more than 200 employees across the Commonwealth.”

ABC36 tried to ask more specific questions, but was told by a spokesperson the statement was all we could get.

GenCanna is a big employer in Winchester. ABC36 reached out to the mayor, the county judge executive, and the chamber of commerce for a comment.

The mayor was unavailable.

The judge executive and the chamber said they didn’t feel comfortable commenting yet because they don’t know much about it.

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Alexus Larson joined the ABC36 news team as a multi-media journalist in December 2018. She is from a suburb outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and most recently comes from Minot, North Dakota where she reported and graduated from Minot State University with a degree in broadcasting. Alexus and her husband are excited to be in Lexington and out of the cold! When she’s not reporting, she loves to explore new places, be with friends and family, and watch or attend sports – especially if it’s a Minnesota team! You can see Alexus reporting during the week and the weekends. If you have any story ideas, you can contact her by email alarson@wtvq.com, or you can find her on Facebook at Alexus Larson ABC36, or on Twitter at @AlexusLarsonTV. She looks forwarding to hearing from you!