Basics of CBD > Is CBD legal in Kentucky?
11 minute read - Mar. 1st, 2019

Is CBD legal in Kentucky?

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The popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) and other hemp products has skyrocketed. People are increasingly researching and accepting the potential uses of hemp in industrial and therapeutic products. While this is a positive development for the industry, the legality of CBD products can be confusing.

There are different laws at both the federal and state level. So, how do you know what product is legal and where it is legal?

If you are curious to explore the potential of CBD, but are cautious on the legality of the products in Kentucky, then you’re in the right place. This article highlights and summarizes all the relevant legal jargon to help you make an informed decision. We are not lawyers, so we are not giving legal advice. Instead, we are compiling information from across the country so people can make sense of their own legal questions.

Note: The information on our website and any other communication of Daddy Burt Hemp Co. is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

Daddy Burt CBD Oil products with a farm in the background


Federal Legal Status: Farm Bill 2018

Thankfully, legal developments over the last decade have put a spotlight on the future of hemp and CBD. Two legislative milestones include the 2014 Farm Bill¹ and the 2018 Farm Bill². These bills give hope to the advancement of medical research and the full potential of CBD.

In particular, the 2018 Farm Bill distinguishes the difference between hemp and other plants. It declassified hemp as a controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act – note: the keyword is hemp.

What does this mean? The regulation of the hemp plant is now under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), rather than the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). As a result, hemp and hemp byproducts (including CBD) are 100% federally legal in the United States as of December 2018.

Looking back on the history of hemp, for decades hemp plants were considered the same as other illegal plants under the federal law of the United States. All variants/species of the plant were made illegal under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970³. This act classified hemp plants as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, despite hemp’s industrial and medical applications. The hemp plant, which doesn’t get the user high, was classified the same as life-threatening drugs like heroin.


2018 Farm Bill Logo


Hemp and Other Plant CBD are different

The 2018 Farm Bill makes the source of CBD an important factor in determining the legality of the products. If you find that the lines between hemp and other plants are a little blurry, it’s justifiable. They can be the same plant species but have a few important differences. The most important distinction is that hemp is non-psychoactive. It doesn’t get you high. 

When evaluating whether a CBD product is legal in Kentucky, it is critical to understand whether the CBD comes from hemp or other plants. Other plants will have a different cannabinoid composition, which can potentially make the CBD product illegal in the state of Kentucky. More specifically, the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plant are the defining factor for legality. THC is the chemical that is responsible for the high feeling. Hemp contains a maximum of 0.3% THC, while other illegal plants can contain up to 30% THC (100x more THC).


Outline of the state of Kentucky with KY state flag overlay


State Legal Status: Is CBD legal in Kentucky?

The answer is a conditional YES!

The state law permits access to CBD oil products. According to the 2014 Kentucky Senate Bill 124⁴, industrial hemp is distinguished from other high THC plants.  Another law, House Bill 333⁵ was enacted in 2017, allowing the use of CBD products such as CBD cream and CBD oil in Kentucky as long as the CBD products did not exceed the 0.3% THC limit of industrial hemp extracts. If a CBD product contains more than 0.3% THC, it would not be legal in Kentucky. All Daddy Burt CBD products contain less than 0.3% THC and are legal in Kentucky.

Where to Buy CBD in Kentucky


Can CBD be Shipped and Delivered to Kentucky?

YES. CBD products can be delivered to you in Kentucky, as long as the relevant Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulations are followed by the manufacturer/supplier. (Daddy Burt’s CBD products are all processed in FDA-approved, food grade bottling facilities)


Enforcement of CBD: The Role of the FDA

Food & Drug Administration LogoThe passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, means that products derived from industrial hemp are completely legal. However, the FDA released a statement⁶ to remind Americans of its authority on dietary supplements, cosmetics, drugs, and food. This includes the items under those categories containing CBD derived from hemp. In the statement, former FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb claimed that they are investigating “pathways” for the sale of CBD oil in food and beverages. 

The FDA’s primary role is to protect public health by monitoring the safety of food, medical devices, and drugs. Currently, FDA states that all cannabinoids, including CBD, should not be distributed as supplements or ‘adulterated’ food.

It is worth noting that the FDA has already approved Epidiolex as a prescription drug⁷. Epidiolex is 99% CBD and is used for two rare types of epilepsy: Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Statue of a Horse in Kentucky Congressional courtyard


Precedence for Legal CBD in Kentucky

Kentucky was among the first states to consider renewing the cultivation of industrial hemp. In 1994¹⁰, a commission was established to deliberate on possible avenues to revive the hemp industry in Kentucky. In 2013, Kentucky Senate Bill 50⁴ was passed, allowing for the production of hemp for research purposes. Another state law, House Bill 333⁵ granted full legal status to CBD derived from hemp.


Court Cases and Stories on CBD in Kentucky

As with all controversial topics, CBD has experienced its fair share of court battles in the state of Kentucky. Below is a list of some court cases and stories on CBD in Kentucky prior to its full legalization in 2018:

  • Celebrities are not exempt to cases of CBD and hemp – and their stories can be as entertaining as their performances. In 1996¹¹, Woody Harrelson was arrested for possession of four hemp seeds. According to the Hollywood actor, he wanted to challenge the state law to distinguish hemp from other plants. Although Harrelson was charged with a misdemeanor, it was later dismissed by a jury.
  • In 2014¹², the DEA seized hemp seeds destined for the University of Kentucky from Italy after being flagged by the U.S Customs and Border Protection. State officials for Kentucky accused the DEA of violating federal (2014 Farm Bill) and state laws (SB-50).
  • In 2017¹³, a former Jackson County Sheriff, Denny Peyman was arrested for allegedly growing high THC plants rather than hemp as stipulated in the Kentucky industrial hemp pilot program.


Back to The Roots: History of Hemp in Kentucky

Hemp definitely has a long history in Kentucky, and the recent developments in the state are now a part of this rich history. Kentucky is historically regarded as one of the main producers of hemp in the United States. Hemp was cultivated near Danville, Kentucky as far back as 1775¹⁴. The soil conditions were (and still are) perfect for the cultivation of the plant. The industry rapidly declined¹⁵ during the late 1800s and early 1900s due to the Civil War, a smear campaign, and the 1937 Marihuana Act. The hemp crop enjoyed a brief revival during the 2nd World War as part of the war efforts and hemp for victory campaign. Finally, in 2019, we are now seeing the resurgence of this great plant in the state of Kentucky.

Written by:

Sean Cope

Sean is an employee at Daddy Burt Hemp Co. He graduated from the University of Michigan and is focused on helping educate people about the benefits of CBD.

Reviewed by:

Bob Estes

Bob is the founder and CEO of Daddy Burt Hemp Co. Bob has quickly become an authority and expert in the hemp & CBD industry.

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