Is Weed Legal in Kentucky? KY Cannabis Laws

Illustration for Kentucky Marijuana Legalization
Written by Nina Julia | Last updated: September 30, 2022

Kentucky leads the nation in growing hemp, one of the most versatile crops on Earth.

However, when it comes to marijuana, the state has some of the harshest laws in the U.S. next to Kansas, Indiana, and Georgia.

But since hemp is legal in Kentucky, you can enjoy psychoactive cannabinoids like delta 8 THC without worrying about being charged with a misdemeanor and put into jail.

In this article, we share everything there is to know about marijuana laws in Kentucky.

Let’s start with the basics.

Is Marijuana Legal in Kentucky?

No, marijuana in Kentucky is illegal for any use. The state has harsh penalties for marijuana possession (even for small amounts). There’s a medical marijuana program incoming, but Kentucky hasn’t come up with a distribution network for medical marijuana products yet.

Here’s a quick breakdown of different marijuana laws in Kentucky.

Is Recreational Marijuana Legal in Kentucky?

Image of a gavel and a marijuana bud

Kentucky laws align with federal regulations regarding marijuana. It’s illegal to possess, use, sell, and cultivate marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Kentucky?

This year, the Kentucky House passed a new medical marijuana bill and it is now waiting in the senate for final approval. This puts the future of medical cannabis in bright light.

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Kentucky

If you’ve been arrested with marijuana in Kentucky, you may be charged with possession, which is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $250 and 45 days in prison.

The above punishment is for first-time offenders. If you’re caught with less than 8 ounces of marijuana for the second time, you can be sent to prison for one year and pay a $500 fine.

Is Marijuana Decriminalized in Kentucky?

Although other states amended their marijuana laws and decriminalized the possession of little amounts of marijuana, Kentucky remains steadfast in its backwardness. So far, no country has decided to make such a bold move.

What’s the Future of Cannabis Legalization in Kentucky?

Kentucky legalized medical marijuana in February 2022, but the state has yet to establish a medical marijuana program along with a distribution network.

However, later in February, Kentucky Democrats announced they’re filing legislation that would legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use, while also expunging all marijuana-related convictions in the state.

The new legislation will be considered in the General Assembly this year.

Fingers crossed!

Hemp-Derived Delta 8: Better and Legal Alternative to Marijuana

Hemp leaves in a lab

Since marijuana is heavily regulated in Kentucky, people are looking for legal alternatives to high-THC products.

Until recently, cannabis users have been limited to non-intoxicating cannabinoids from hemp, such as CBG, CBG, and CBC.

But thanks to recent breakthroughs in extraction methods, hemp manufacturers can now obtain usable amounts of delta 8 THC by converting CBD with acids and heavy metal reagents.

Hemp-derived delta 8 products still contain less than 0.3% THC, so they’re federally legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.

Cons of Delta 9 THC from Marijuana

Delta 9 THC is the primary intoxicating cannabinoid in marijuana plants. In low and moderate doses, it can relieve physical discomfort, ease stress, reduce muscle tension, and improve cognitive performance.

Larger doses can get you high. The signature effects of high-THC cannabis include euphoria, elevated mood, increased appetite, laughter, altered perception of time, sharpened senses, and sleepiness.

However, delta 9 THC has a biphasic nature. In sensitive users, breaching their tolerance can induce mental discomfort and feelings of unease.

The side effects of delta 9 THC from marijuana include:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • Problems with coordination
  • Short-term memory impairment

That’s the main reason why hemp-derived delta 8 THC has become so popular recently.

Effects and Benefits of Delta 8 THC

Delta 8 and delta 9 are two different versions of the THC molecule.

While strikingly similar at first glance, there’s a subtle difference in how their atomic bonds are arranged.

Delta 8 THC has a double bond on the 8th carbon chain, while for delta 9 THC, this bond is at the 9th chain. This subtle difference makes delta 8 THC about twice less potent as delta 9.

You’d need to take twice the amount of delta 8 THC to experience the same intensity of effects as with marijuana.

You can reap similar benefits to delta 8 THC, but with a lower risk of experiencing anxiety and paranoia.

The health benefits of delta 8 THC include:

  • Anti-nausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain relief
  • Increased appetite
  • Feelings of calmness and relaxation
  • Neuroprotection

Is Delta 8 THC Legal in Kentucky?

Yes, hemp-derived delta 8 THC products are legal in Kentucky as long as they contain 0.3% THC or less.

The 2018 Farm Bill unintentionally created a legal loophole that legalized all isomers of THC if the end product meets the federal limits for delta-9 THC.

Although 14 states have banned delta 8 THC products by imposing the 0.3% limit on all variants of THC, Kentucky has decided to follow the provisions of the Farm Bill.

You can easily find hemp-derived delta 8 products in local stores and online.

Benefits of Buying Delta 8 THC Online

The delta 8 THC space is dynamically growing and lacks regulations in terms of manufacturing and testing standards. There are a lot of uncertified, sometimes downright dangerous delta 8 products being sold locally.

If you’re looking for a better toolset for vetting your potential vendors, consider buying delta 8 THC online.

You can:

  • Look into the certificate of analysis of any product
  • Compare customer reviews from different sources
  • Read the company’s website, especially the “About Us” section
  • Reach out to other users on forums (e.g. Reddit) and social media platforms

Online retailers also offer better prices for their products. You can save more money on high-quality delta 8 by using discounts, joining reward programs, or using subscription payments.

Not to mention that nothing can beat the convenience of browsing through hundreds of formulas in the comfort of your home, unrestricted by time and location.

Best Online Delta 8 THC Vendors

1. Area 52

image of Area 52 Delta8 Products

Area 52 is a California-based company specializing in the extraction of minor cannabinoids. Its main focus is delta 8 THC distillate, which comes from organic hemp plants grown in Colorado and Kentucky.

Area 52 offers a traditional range of delta 8 products, including tinctures, gummies, vape carts, and pre-rolled joints. It also comes with more innovative formats, such as delta 8 honey which contains high levels of delta 8 THC and is exceptionally rich in terpenes, adding to the entourage effect.

Recently, Area 52 has also added real full-spectrum CBD extracts to its line-up. They’re enhanced with minor cannabinoids such as CBG (for energy) or CBN (for sleep).

As a sign of confidence in its products, Area 52 offers a 100% 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Finest Labs

image of Finest Labs Delta 8 THC Products

Finest Labs is a company known for its scientific approach to making cannabinoid extracts. The products are gently extracted without harsh acids or gases; they’re also triple-tested in an ISO-certified laboratory for potency and purity.

You can choose from a few classic delta 8 formats, such as tinctures, vape carts, and gummies. On top of that, Finest Labs offers a broad selection of terpenes, both single molecules and special blends that recreate the experience of specific cannabis strains.

Some of the Finest Labs products, such as the delta 8 THC tincture, are less potent, but lower potencies translate into a lower cost per product, making the company a decent pick for delta 8 users with lower budgets.

FAQs

Who Can Use Medical Marijuana in Kentucky?

Once medical marijuana is legalized, patients with qualifying conditions will be able to purchase marijuana from medical dispensaries.

Patients must receive a written recommendation from their doctors to apply for a medical marijuana card.

So far, no specific conditions have been outlined by Public Health officials, but the list should be ready as soon as Kentucky establishes its medical marijuana program.

Can You Grow Marijuana in Kentucky?

No, growing marijuana is illegal in Kentucky. Getting caught growing cannabis plants at home will result in charges for a possession; the severity of your penalty will depend on the number of plants and their current growth stage.

Traveling with Marijuana in Kentucky

Woman holding a map in front of a car

Traveling with marijuana isn’t an option in Kentucky. Getting caught with weed in your vehicle may result in possession charges, and you’ll likely have your driver’s license taken away from you.

Traveling with marijuana between state lines is a serious federal felony. Possession of fewer than 50 kilograms of marijuana or fewer than 50 plants is punishable with up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Can You Smoke Marijuana in Public?

No, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public in Kentucky. When you smoke weed on the streets, the police may charge you with possession.

Is CBD Oil from Hemp Legal in Kentucky?

Hemp-derived CBD oil is legal in Kentucky under the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is an agricultural commodity that can be grown and sold for any use, from clothes to food to construction materials, ropes, biofuel, and health supplements such as CBD oil.

You can easily find CBD products locally in health stores, fitness studios, pharmacies, and hemp stores in Kentucky. However, since the market is unregulated (a similar situation to delta 8 THC), the best deals on high-quality CBD oils are found online.

Key Takeaways on Marijuana Legal Status in Kentucky

Despite recent progress in medical marijuana laws, Kentucky is still far behind other states when it comes to legalization.

Possession of even small amounts is punishable by jail time and financial fines, and if you’re a second-time offender, you can be sent to prison for one year.

So far, the only legal alternative to marijuana in Kentucky is delta 8 THC. This milder isomer of delta 9 offers smoother psychoactive effects and doesn’t get you as anxious as high doses of regular weed.

But most importantly, delta 8 THC is federally legal. You can find it locally or purchase it from a reputable online store, which we recommend because of its higher transparency standards and better product selection.

Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.