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Founder / CEO
Born in Germany while his father served in the U.S. Army, John’s family settled in Louisville, KY where he spent his childhood. After his parents divorced early, John’s family moved often. His mother worked while raising three children, and as a result, John learned to hone his leadership qualities at an early age.
After high school, John enlisted in the U.S. Army where he served eight years in army communications and intelligence and was then honorably discharged. He used his G.I. Bill to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Louisville, graduating in 2005. While pursuing his education, John always had a vision, continually looking ahead and thinking of new opportunities.
John began his first business immediately after college launching the Louisville Poker Tour in June 2005. This was a marketing and promotion company capitalizing on the popularity of Texas Hold’em Poker. He grew that company from a $2,500 seed investment to a statewide operation with locations in three cities and over eighty poker games per week. He established a solid and loyal following that accrued tens of thousands of players regionally.
Then seizures turned life upside down
Beginning in 2007, John began having Gran Mal Seizures for no apparent reason. These traumatic seizures continued to get worse for the next few years culminating in several near-fatal events. After three years of increasing pharmaceutical treatments with no positive results, John took his health into his own hands and traveled to Oregon where he discovered CBD oil.
Once he began using these cannabinoids, his seizures stopped immediately and he went asymptomatic for the next five years. After about six months of taking CBD regularly, John was accepted into a Veterans Administration program for a service related injury. He went to the seizure monitoring unit at The University of Louisville Medical Hospital where they detoxed him off the medications and watched expecting to induce a seizure. After about six days of waiting the nurse asked if he had really ever had a seizure, they were so surprised.
Eventually, after all the drugs had left his system John felt better and was ready to leave. He never took another pharmaceutical for seizures again. John went asymptomatic for over five years. Since then, there have only been four events in over ten years.
Kentucky Industrial Hemp Pilot Program
John Taylor met his partner, Kenneth Delcour, at a poker tournament before the idea of Commonwealth Extracts ever came about. Kenneth was also a self-made, successful businessman and the two of them quickly became friends. In early 2014 Kentucky implemented an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program after the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture was looking to champion hemp as a replacement crop for the declining tobacco marketplace. John immediately recognized the value of this program and shared his ideas, and the research he had done for his own health, with Kenneth. The two of them both agreed they had a tremendous opportunity to do good for others and build a successful business doing it.
After about six months of exploratory research, looking at what Kentucky was doing and the program that was forming, John and Kenneth made a trip to Berea, KY to find out how they could get involved. It was on the highway of the Bluegrass State on the way back from that seminar, that they set forth building a business model that could support the demands of quickly growing industry. On that day that the vision for Commonwealth Extracts was born.
Kentucky’s First Licensed Hemp Processor
Commonwealth Extracts was formed in April 2014 and was later approved by The Kentucky Department of Agriculture as the first licensed hemp processor in the state of Kentucky. John utilized the same start-up mentality he had developed for decades and built a proof of concept facility to begin processing and formulating hemp-extracted products. Initially, he was unsatisfied with the available hemp plant genetics in Kentucky during the infancy of the program and relocated to Colorado for six months.
During that time he studied plant varieties and genetics until discovering exactly what he was looking for; a pest-resistant, disease resistant, drought and flood-resistant hemp variety with an exceptional cannabinoid profile. He bought the exclusive rights to that special plant and shipped the original mother stock to Kentucky via UPS in early 2016, yet another first. John was one of the first hemp processors to realize the degree of quality and consistent cannabinoid potency that can be achieved using clones as opposed to seeds.
Since these humble beginnings, John has grown Commonwealth Extracts into the largest hemp extract processor east of the Mississippi. Commonwealth Extracts serves businesses in a variety of consumer markets in 4 different countries and all 50 United States. John and Kenneth currently operate a state of the art Subcritical CO2 hemp extract processing facility located within a 133,000 sq ft warehouse in western Jefferson County Kentucky. John has personally selected, engineered, installed and operated every piece of equipment in the building; fine-tuning for optimum production rate, quality, purity, and safety.
Commonwealth Extracts has grown from three employees in 2014 to many times that today. And while John does not personally operate all of the equipment today, he is actively involved in all aspects of the day to day business. He has transitioned to an Executive position focusing on managerial tasks but still has the same curiosity and enthusiasm when working on new innovations or processing solutions for the business. John continues to oversee the design, configuration and installation of all new systems and equipment.