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CBD in Kentucky: Official State Guide

Kentucky has a long and rich history with hemp. This article breaks down this history, lets you in on Kentucky CBD laws, explains how to get a Medical Marijuana Card (MMJ), and reveals the best places to purchase your marijuana.

CBD in Kentucky

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During World War One and Two, Kentucky was the country's largest hemp producer and supplier. However, the production was made illegal in the 1930s when federal drug policies classified it as a Schedule 1 drug.

The robust industrial hemp pilot program introduced by the 2014 Farm Bill reinstated the production of hemp. At this time, only non-psychoactive Cannabidiol (CBD) meant for medical use was legalized.

This changed again in 2017 when the Kentucky government decriminalized CBD products derived from hemp that have a 0.3% THC level. 

In recent years, CBD has gained popularity thanks to its multiple health, beauty, and wellness benefits. Let's get into everything you need to know about possessing, purchasing, using, and growing CBD in the state of Kentucky.

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Is CBD Legal in Kentucky? (Laws & Regulations)


CBD Legality




Kentucky law allows residents to buy and consume hemp-derived CBD products containing less than 0.3% THC. However, the law also requires the products to be sold in processed forms, such as oil, ointments, gummies, tinctures, topical lotions. 

You are not allowed to possess any floral form of hemp, as the law currently only allows for CBD extract acquired from post-production.

The state still prohibits the recreational or medical use of marijuana. It also remains illegal to possess or cultivate cannabis-derived CBD in the state of Kentucky. Nevertheless, no specific rules and regulations are governing the use of legal CBD in food and beverages.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) controls and oversees the growing, handling, processing, and marketing of hemp plants, seeds, leaves, and floral product materials. 

The Department requires anyone indulging in any of the following practices to acquire a license. Failure to do so attracts penalties similar to the ones facing marijuana offenders.

To obtain the license, you must provide a full criminal background check and no recent drug misdemeanors or felony convictions. The KDA also requires hemp growers to obtain the seeds from a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) approved educational institution.

The Department also tests hemp samples produced by licensed farmers before approving them for use in various products.

Kentucky CBD Possession Limits

CBD possession remains illegal in Kentucky because CBD obtained from cannabis plants contains more than 0.3% THC, leading to an altered state of mind. Furthermore, as a Schedule 1 drug, cannabis can be easily abused and has no acceptable medical uses.

Possession of 8 pounds or less of cannabis-derived CBD is a class B misdemeanor that could attract a fine of $250 or 45 days imprisonment. Possession of more of the substance is a felony, and you are at risk of being imprisoned for one to 5 years or a maximum fine of $10,000.

Fortunately, it is okay to possess any desired amount of the legal hemp-derived CBD.

How to Get a Medical Marijuana Card (MMJ) in Kentucky

As is already clear, marijuana remains to be a no-no in the Bluegrass state. But this script is about to change. That's thanks to the ongoing House Bill 136 filled by lawmakers in early 2020.

The good news is that the bill was taken up by the entire senate for the first time in history and passed by 65 to 30 votes. The bill also has the support of 90% of Kentucky residents.

Unfortunately, the pandemic disrupted the bill's progression, but we are hopeful that the bill will pass once life starts to return to normal.

Once this happens, the use and possession of medical marijuana will be legal, and the necessary regulatory laws will be implemented. Residents will also be able to apply and receive MMJ cards to purchase marijuana from dispensaries legally. 

To qualify for an MMJ card in Kentucky, you must fulfill the following requirements.

  • A physician with whom you have an ongoing patient-practitioner relationship must diagnose you with a condition fit for medical marijuana use.
  • You cannot get your prescription from podiatrists, dentists, or optometrists.
  • The physician should provide an official written certification.
  • You must provide proof of Kentucky residency, e.g., I.D. or Driver's License.

All this information is open to interpretation because the bill is yet to pass. However, we can expect most of these requirements to stay true.

Most of the other laws and processes concerning MMJ card application are likely to be in line with laws of the other 33 states where MMJ cards are currently legal.

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Finding Marijuana Dispensaries in Kentucky

There are currently no marijuana dispensaries in Kentucky. However, House Bill 136 makes provisions for at least 25 marijuana dispensaries in the state.

In the brick-and-mortar dispensaries, patients will receive guidance on the best products for their specific conditions.


How old do you have to be to buy CBD in Kentucky?

There is no restriction defining who can buy or use legal hemp-derived CBD. Thus anybody at any age can purchase CBD. This includes minors, but shops selling smokable CBD products, such as vape, smoke, and head shops, may have specific age requirements.

How much cannabis can I grow at home?

You cannot grow any amount of marijuana at home in Kentucky, and illegal cultivation is a punishable offense. For instance, you may be fined $500 or spend one year in prison for cultivating less than five plants of marijuana.

Where can I use my marijuana?

There is no allowance by the law for you to use marijuana in any part of Kentucky. However, recreational marijuana use is legal in 16 U.S. states plus Washington DC, while medical marijuana is allowed in a total of 36 U.S. states.

How can I obtain a grow license in marijuana?

Until House Bill 136 passes, you cannot obtain a license to grow marijuana in Kentucky. However, if you intend to use marijuana to extract CBD, you can get a permit to cultivate the legal alternative hemp from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Next Steps

CBD is a favorite for many Kentucky residents, and lucky for you, the state allows its use in various products. But this acceptability also comes with a set of regulations that control how much THC you are allowed to consume.

Although growing and selling legal CBD in the state requires a license, the law allows you to possess and use as much CBD as you would like - as long as the THC level is no higher than 0.3%. However, you must steer clear of marijuana and its products, at least for now. 

Should the House Bill be passed, we can finally obtain medical marijuana cards and have our first marijuana dispensaries in the state.

The outlook for the legalization of medical marijuana seems promising. As you embark on your CBD journey, we advise that you start with small doses and increase these depending on your body's response.

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About the author 

Justin Powell

Justin Powell founded Hemp For Future to give direct answers to many of the questions surrounding THC, CBD, and everything in between. He’s been at the forefront of CBD advocacy for years, and as the go-to guru for many people, he decided to pour all his knowledge into Hemp For Future. He’s here to tell you about the best CBD gummies, how to stay under the legal THC allowance, and the core differences between commercial and in-home marijuana growth.

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