February 19, 2021 5 min read

Delta-8-THC, a newly-popularized cannabinoid, is legal according to federal laws, but some states still prohibit possession. Kentucky is home to one of the nation's most organized hemp programs, but is Delta-8 legal in Kentucky?

Contrary to popular belief, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture opposes Delta-8 sales in the state, citing it as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. That means Delta-8-THC is not legal in Kentucky. 

Here's how Kentucky Delta-8-THC laws break down:

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest Delta-8 laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.

Delta 8 Kentucky Laws Table of Contents

Kentucky Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Kentucky?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Kentucky
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Kentucky?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Kentucky
Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8?
Is Delta-8 Legal in All 50 States?

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from legal hemp, and is therefore legal according to federal legislation.
  • Kentucky originally amended legislation to clarify the difference between hemp and "marijuana," which seemed to legalize all hemp derivatives. However, the state's agricultural department has since clarified that they still consider Delta-8 a Controlled Substance.
  • In states where Delta-8 is legal, you can buy Delta-8 online and have it shipped directly to your door.

Delta 8 Kentucky Laws

A close up of a federally legal hemp plant, the only kind of cannabis that's legal in Kentucky.

Kentucky quickly hopped on the opportunity to legalize hemp and CBD after the 2018 Farm Bill became federal law. The state has legalized hemp, which it defines according to the federal definition. It also legalized all hemp products "made from, or made by, processing industrial hemp…"

The state's legislation goes further to specify the difference between "marijuana" and hemp material. Kentucky permits possession of all CBD and other hemp materials, assuming the material contains no living plant material, viable seeds, or flower.

This seemingly legalized Delta-8-THC in the state so long as it was derived from legal hemp material, but the Kentucky Department of Agriculture published a letter on April 19 of 2021 to clarify their stance.

Kentucky Department of Agriculture Letter on Delta-8 Stance

The letter, written by the KDA Commissioner Ryan F. Quarles, reads " I am writing this letter to advise you that Delta-8 THC is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law and Kentucky law."

Later in the letter, Quarles references federal law as a basis for these state laws. "The federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s Controlled Substances List states that Delta-8 THC and other forms of THC are Schedule I controlled substances...Because Delta-8 THC is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under state law as well."

Of course, federal law makes exemptions for tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp so long as there is less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC, so it seems as if these state laws have no true basis. Nonetheless, Kentucky authorities are treating Delta-8 as a Schedule I Controlled Substance in the state, so Delta-8-THC is illegal in Kentucky. 

Here's the relevant text:

KRS 260.850 TO 260.869 INDUSTRIAL HEMP

260.850 Definitions

(5) “Industrial hemp” means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than three-tenths of one percent (0.3%) on a dry weight basis;

(6) “Industrial hemp products” means products derived from, or made by, processing industrial hemp plants or plant parts;

40 KRS 218A.010

218A.010 Definitions for chapter.

(27) “Marijuana” means all parts of the plant Cannabis sp., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances. The term “marijuana” does not include:

(a) Industrial hemp that is in the possession, custody, or control of a person who holds a license issued by the Department of Agriculture permitting that person to cultivate, handle, or process industrial hemp;

(b) Industrial hemp products that do not include any living plants, viable seeds, leaf materials, or floral materials;

(c) The substance cannabidiol, when transferred, dispensed, or administered pursuant to the written order of a physician practicing at a hospital or clinic affiliated with a Kentucky public university having a college or school of medicine;

(d) For persons participating in a clinical trial or in an expanded access program, a drug or substance approved for the use of those participants by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

(e) A cannabidiol product derived from industrial hemp, as defined in KRS 260.850; or

(f) A cannabidiol product approved as a prescription medication by the United States Food and Drug Administration;

Industrial hemp, the legal cannabis material used to make Delta-8.Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Kentucky?

Per the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's recent statements, Delta-8-THC is  a controlled substance in the state of Kentucky and is therefore illegal. 

Delta 8 THC Possession Limits in Kentucky


Because Delta-8-THC is considered a Controlled Substance in the state of Kentucky, there are no defined possession limits in the state. 

Is Cannabis (Delta 9 THC) Legal in Kentucky ?

No. Kentucky does not allow high-THC cannabis for either recreational or medicinal use.

Possession of any amount of cannabis in Kentucky is considered a class B misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $250 and up to 45 days in jail.

Where to Buy Delta 8 in Kentucky?

Delta-8-THC vapes, which may be legal and accessible in Kentucky

According to state hemp laws, legal hemp products can be sold in the state so long as it is produced in accordance with the state’s hemp plan. However, Delta-8 is considered  controlled substance and Delta-8 sales are therefore prohibited in Kentucky.  

In areas where Delta-8 is legal, including those with organized hemp programs, it’s advisable to proceed with caution when choosing a Delta-8 distributor. For many, there may be benefits to buying Delta-8 online. One reason is that you can buy directly from a brand or manufacturer, instead of purchasing through a third-party vendor that may not fully understand Delta-8 effects and uses or the laws surrounding Delta-8 products.

Is it Legal to Buy Delta-8 Online?

At Vida Optima, our Delta-8-THC products comply with all parameters of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, so they are legal to purchase online from any state where Delta-8 is legal.

We can also help answer questions about Delta-8 before you buy, or you can read our “What is Delta-8-THC?” guide to learn everything you need to know.

Is Delta 8 Federally Legal?

Yes! Delta 8 THC is legal according to federal law because it falls under the definition of legal hemp material. Hemp and all of its derivatives, including cannabinoids, isomers, and all other extracts, were legalized via updates to the Farm Bill in 2018. Now, Delta-8 products derived from hemp that contain less than 0.3% Delta-9 are legal by federal law.

Is Delta 8 Legal in All 50 States?

Delta-8-THC is currently federally legal under the context of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, but each state has the right to determine its own stance on tetrahydrocannabinols derived from hemp. Delta-8-THC is illegal in Kentucky according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.


  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018” https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5485
  2. “Drug Fact Sheet: K2/Spice” https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/K2-spice-2020.pdf
  3. “MARINOL” https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/018651s025s026lbl.pdf
  4. “260.850 Definitions for KRS 260.850 to 260.869” https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=49786
  5. “218A.010 Definitions for chapter’ https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/statutes/statute.aspx?id=50105
  6. “Class B and Level Two Misdemeanors” https://www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/resources/criminal-defense/criminal-offense/class-b-misdemeanor.htm

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