Disclaimer: The information below is fully based on our independent research. While our team does everything in their power to provide accurate and current information from credible state-run websites and resources, we are not lawyers or legal experts. As such, none of the following information should be interpreted as legal advice. Content on these pages is provided for informational purposes only and those with legal concerns should consult experts within their state.
Cannabidiol has become a more and more common option for people who are seeking help with issues like chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, depression and more. CBD is present in both hemp and in marijuana. Many adherents believe that CBD offers relief, without the intoxicating properties of THC-rich marijuana. However, hemp has the advantage of having high quantities of CBD without the presence of intoxicating and illegal THC. This makes hemp an ideal CBD source in parts of the country that do not have legal medical or recreational marijuana.
However, before purchasing CBD or any other substance, most people want to make sure that the remedy they are seeking is legal. This is what we’ve learned about CBD laws in Kentucky:
Is CBD oil legal in Kentucky?
CBD oil is legal in Kentucky as long as it is derived from hemp and contains .3% THC or less. There are no age restrictions on CBD purchases, nor are there possession limits. There is no need for a prescription to purchase CBD products, as CBD was federally legalized in 2018.
At this time, marijuana-based CBD is not legal in the state. Kentucky has no medical marijuana law on its books, and all marijuana products remain illegal.
State authorities say that, because marijuana and THC remain illegal, consumers should be careful to buy products that have been third-party tested. These can ensure that they contain no more than the legal amounts of THC. Testing can also help buyers ensure that the CBD products they are purchasing contain the concentration of CBD that the label says they have.
What are the current CBD laws in Kentucky?
CBD is legal for all Kentucky residents and visitors. Kentucky was ahead of many states, legalizing CBD products for all consumers in 2017. This could be, in part, because of the state’s long history with hemp.
There was a time when the majority of the country’s hemp was grown in Kentucky. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Kentucky was responsible for three quarters of the hemp cultivated in the United States. However, in the early 20th century, hemp fields began to be displaced by more profitable tobacco fields. When federal authorities outlawed hemp cultivation in 1970, that eliminated the remainder of Kentucky’s commercial hemp cultivation.
Kentucky first considered reintroducing hemp as an agricultural product in 1994. Governor Brereton Jones convened a commission to investigate whether there was a legal way to bring back what was once a profitable crop.
These efforts stalled until 2013, when Kentucky passed Senate Bill 50, which permitted the cultivation of hemp for research purposes.
This program was expanded when federal law began allowing greater research. In 2014, Congress passed the Agricultural Act of 2014, which allowed states to begin growing for research purposes. Kentucky farmers grew 33 acres of hemp in 2014. The amount grew every year, with 922 acres in 2015, 2,350 the next year and 12,800 acres by 2017. At the time of the 2016 harvest, Kentucky was one of only three states that had over 100 acres of hemp in production.
Kentucky is also one of a handful of states that produces certified hemp seeds. In 2016, they became the first state to have their seeds certified by the Colorado Department of Agriculture for growers in that state to use. In order to be certified, hemp strains must produce plants that have less than the federally allowed .3% THC by dry volume.
In 2014, they made some moves toward legalization of CBD for medical purposes. This was the year that SB 124 passed. Under this law, eligible patients were permitted to possess CBD products for medical purposes. To obtain CBD under the medical law, patients needed to obtain a written order from a physical practicing at a Kentucky hospital, or one who was associated with a clinic affiliated with a public university that has a school of medicine. Additionally, patients were permitted to participate in CBD clinical trials. There were no specific conditions listed in the law, leaving the administration to doctors and their patients. The law did not provide for state licensed dispensaries. It also did not permit home cultivation or possession of CBD by a caregiver.
In 2017, Kentucky passed House Bill 333. This bill allowed for the retail sale and consumption of CBD products throughout the state. Under the state law, extracts and other products such as lotions, oils, capsules and ointments must contain no more than .3% THC. It must also be derived from industrial hemp.
There was an attempt to provide further therapeutic access to cannabis products including marijuana-derived CBD in 2018. House Bill 166 would have allowed qualifying patients with chronic medical conditions that include cancer, multiple sclerosis and seizures to legally procure marijuana for medical purposes. The bill was popular with voters in the state and was cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 25 state lawmakers. However, the bill was passed over by the House Judiciary Committee.
Meanwhile, cultivation and production of hemp in Kentucky continued to grow. In 2018, the Farm Bill reclassified hemp from a Schedule 1 controlled substance to an agricultural commodity. The administration and regulation of hemp production was left to the states. In Kentucky, growers require permits to grow, handle or process hemp plants, viable seeds and leaves or floral materials. Unlike many other states, Kentucky does not charge an application fee for growers and processors as long a they apply for their licenses through the state’s online licensing portal. The state Department of Agriculture issues multi-year licenses for both growers and processors. Individuals who wish to get licensed, and key participants in their businesses, must pass background checks in order to legally be involved in hemp cultivation or processing in the state. Applicants must specify whether they wish to grow hemp for grain, fiber or floral material for CBD extraction.
In addition, researchers at Kentucky universities and colleges can apply for a University Application at any time, and do not have annual deadlines like commercial cultivators. These laws allow Kentucky educational institutions to conduct research into hemp products that include CBD extracts.
Can I purchase CBD in Kentucky
Yes, you can buy CBD products in Kentucky as long as they are hemp-derived and contain less than the federally allowed limit of .3% THC. It’s available in dedicated CBD retail outlets, convenience stores and even big name national drug stores like Walgreens and CVS.
Additionally, it is legal to purchase CBD products online and have them shipped to your address in Kentucky. Many people choose to buy CBD products online because they can often find a wider array of options and sometimes better prices, as well. Many people will also choose to buy online because they can choose CBD that was tested and certified in ways that make them feel most comfortable with their purchase.