February 19, 2021 6 min read

Delta-8-THC, a newly-popularized cannabinoid, is legal according to federal laws, but some states still prohibit possession. Is Delta-8-THC legal in Kentucky, or is the mildly-psychoactive cannabinoid as far out of reach as recreational cannabis?

Thankfully, Kentucky makes specific exceptions for hemp derivatives, and Delta-8-THC is 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.

Table of Contents
Delta-8-THC and Federal Laws
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?
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Delta-8 is a cannabinoid derived from legal hemp, and is therefore legal according to federal legislation.
  • Kentucky amended legislation to clarify the difference between hemp and "marijuana," thus removing hemp derived cannabinoids from their Controlled Substances list.
  • To ensure that the Delta-8 you purchase is legal, you have to ensure that it is made from legal hemp by a licensed grower.
  • You generally need to be at least 21 years old to purchase Delta-8-THC products made from hemp. You can find it at a limited number of stores in Kentucky, but you can also buy legal Delta-8 online and have it shipped directly to your door.

Delta 8 THC and Federal Laws

Delta 8's federal status is confusing at first glance. Technically, Delta-8-THC has been listed as a Schedule I substance alongside Delta-9-THC for well over a decade.

More recently, however, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was signed into law. Under this legislation, hemp containing less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC became legal, as did any cannabinoids, extracts, or isomers derived from the legal hemp material.

In fact, Section 12619b of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act specifically addresses tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp. By extension of this new law, Delta-8-THC was legal, or so it seemed.

Here's the catch:

Most of the legal Delta-8 products on the market are made by "synthesizing" CBD. While federal hemp legislation currently allows the production and sale of naturally derived cannabinoids, it specifically prohibits all synthesized cannabinoids.

So where does this put Delta-8-THC, considering it is both a naturally occurring cannabinoid and can be synthesized from legal CBD?

To understand, you need to take a look at the method used to turn CBD into Delta 8, which is vastly different from the complex process that is generally used to create synthetic cannabinoids.

The conversion process between CBD and Delta 8 relies on a transfer of isomers, a process called isomerization, between the two cannabinoids. This means that Delta-8-THC technically exists as a hemp "isomer," which is covered by hemp's legal definition according to the 2018 law.

In other words, Delta-8 is made from hemp and considered to be a naturally occurring part of the hemp plant.

The types of cannabinoids that the DEA typically carve out as “synthetic” are liquid agents that are frequently applied to plant material, like K2 and Spice. Legal forms of synthetic cannabinoids, such as Marinol, also exist as prescription pharmaceuticals. Unlike Delta-8-THC, these substances are purely synthetic and made in a lab without the use of plant material.

Of course, laws regarding cannabinoids are still subject to change as hemp regulations are ironed out by both the DEA and FDA. For now, Delta 8 maintains a federally legal status, but state laws still may pose limitations on Delta-8-THC access.

Industrial hemp, the legal cannabis material used to make Delta-8.

Kentucky Delta 8 THC Laws

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.

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;

Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Kentucky?

Kentucky has clearly made an exception for industrial hemp products, provided they contain no living plant material or hemp flower, from its definition of "marijuana."

Delta-8-THC is not listed as a controlled Substance in the state of Kentucky, and is therefore legal and accessible as long as it is derived from legally produced hemp material.

Delta 8 THC Possession Limits in Kentucky

Kentucky classifies Delta-8-THC as an industrial hemp product, for which there are no defined possession limits set forth.

Still, Delta-8 could be easily confused for Delta-9 THC by authorities without proper documentation and lab testing.

Basic lab testing checks only for tetrahydrocannabinol, meaning that extensive lab tests are needed to differentiate between Delta-8 content and Delta-9 content when proof of legal possession is needed.

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. That means you’re in luck if you’re looking to buy Delta-8-THC in Kentucky.

In fact, Kentucky is one of the largest hemp producers in the U.S., aside from Colorado (where Delta-8 sales are actually restricted) and Oregon.

Still, it’s advisable to proceed with caution when choosing a Delta-8 distributor. While you can likely find various hemp products in local stores, 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.

At Bloom Society, our Delta-8-THC products comply with all parameters of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. 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.

Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8 in Kentucky?

There are no state regulations that place age restriction on the purchase of hemp-derived products. Retailers have the right to determine age limits for the purchase of Delta-8 products, but many retailers require consumers to be at least 21 years of age.

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 their own stance on tetrahydrocannabinols derived from hemp. Delta-8-THC is legal in Kentucky according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.

Resources

  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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