Is CBD Legal in Kentucky?

by Kat Austin December 08, 2020 6 min read

Is CBD Legal in Kentucky? - Vida Optima™

A map with a push pin marking Kentucky

CBD laws vary from state to state, and they don’t always line up with federal laws. Honestly, it can get pretty confusing.

Kentucky is notorious for its thriving Industrial Hemp Program, but is CBD legal in Kentucky for consumers?

Before you reach for that bottle of CBD to manage your troubling anxiety or insomnia, you need to make sure that they align with local legislation.

Here’s what you need to know about Kentucky CBD laws:

Table of Contents
Legal Concerns About CBD
What are the CBD laws in Kentucky?
Is full spectrum CBD legal in Kentucky?
Does Kentucky have a CBD possession limit?
Can doctors prescribe CBD in Kentucky?
Where to buy CBD in Kentucky?
How old do you have to be to buy CBD in Kentucky?
Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest CBD 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Kentucky was one of the states to publish bills urging the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. The state implemented a now-thriving Industrial Hemp Pilot Program following the 2014 Farm Bill.
  • In Kentucky, hemp-derived products are legal according to the federal definitions. The state prohibits the possession of raw hemp material, like flowers.
  • There are no minimum age requirements for buying CBD in the state. It still may be difficult to access CBD if you are under 21 due to rules set by CBD vendors.
  • Doctors in Kentucky may recommend CBD, but you don’t need a prescription to access it.
  • Kentucky has very few CBD regulations and products may be available all over the state. Certain practices, like buying CBD online and properly vetting your CBD brand, may reduce the risks of buying low-quality formulas.

Legal Concerns About CBD

It’s true that CBD gained its federal legal status in 2018. The Hemp Farming Act effectively removed industrial hemp and its natural derivatives (like cannabinoids) from the Controlled Substances Act.

But there’s a catch, and it complicates things:

Legal CBD products must come from industrial hemp.

This classification is designated to hemp material that meets a strict set of standards. The most significant is that it contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis. If CBD products are made from any cannabis strain that contains more than 0.3% THC, it is not a federally legal product.

That’s not all—

The final product must contain less than 0.3% THC, too.

That means that even if a brand starts with legal hemp material, they need to carry out careful manufacturing procedures to produce a legal end product. It’s possible for certain cannabinoids to be “concentrated” during the extraction process, leading to higher THC concentrations than in the original material. Proper manufacturing and careful testing need to be employed to avoid this issue.

Because there is very little regulation in the CBD industry, it’s important to evaluate a brand carefully before you buy. It can be hard to tell if a CBD product is made from a legal hemp source and meets the federal guidelines for legal hemp products. The best way to ensure that your CBD products are legal is by checking the third-party lab tests for cannabinoid potency.

Of course, these regulations only apply on a federal scale. You must also ensure that your products meet the standards laid out by federal guidelines and those set by your state.

Two CBD oils, designed to be taken orally, which are legal in Kentucky.



What are the CBD laws in Kentucky?

After the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear signed SB 124 into law. This bill made CBD derived from hemp accessible to qualifying patients with a written recommendation from a doctor.

The Farm Bill also pushed Kentucky to begin devising a plan for their Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, overseen by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. Like Colorado and Oregon, the state got a head start on hemp agriculture, leading to what is now a thriving hemp market within the state.

In 2017, the state passed HB 333, a bill that updated the language surrounding controlled substances in the state. The bill redefines “marijuana” to exclude “a cannabidiol product derived from industrial hemp.”

Before the 2018 Farm Bill was signed into federal law, Kentucky published a bill to urge the U.S. government to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition for marijuana.

Now, the state defines “industrial hemp” in KRS 260.850 by referring to the federal definition laid out in 7 U.S.C. sec. 5940. In other words, Kentucky fully aligns with the federal definition for Industrial Hemp, which is “the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

In 260.858, the state highlights a few hemp restrictions, including that it is “unlawful for a person who does not hold a license issued by the department, or who is not an agent of a licensee, to cultivate, handle, process, or market living hemp plants or viable seeds, leaf materials, or floral materials derived from hemp.”

In short, CBD products that meet federal regulations are legal in the state, but it is illegal for consumers to possess raw hemp material, including flowers and viable seeds. Similar laws have been imposed in Texas, Georgia, and Iowa. The state does not offer any specific regulations on the use of CBD as an ingredient in foods, drinks, or dietary supplements.

Is full spectrum CBD legal in Kentucky?

It’s easy to assume that CBD isolate is legal in many places since it contains no THC, but many consumers are worried that the trace amounts of THC found in full-spectrum CBD products may cause trouble in states where cannabis is illegal. Luckily, Kentucky aligns with federal regulations regarding CBD, which have no restrictions against CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less.

Does Kentucky have a CBD possession limit?

To date, there are no possession limits for CBD products that meet legal guidelines. CBD products that contain over 0.3% THC may be classified as cannabis products, which are illegal in Kentucky.

Can doctors prescribe CBD in Kentucky?

In Kentucky, you do not need a prescription to access CBD products. In fact, doctors typically cannot “prescribe” CBD products that are sold over the counter, rather they may “recommend” them. Even in states where medical marijuana is legal, access usually requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription.

CBD is still new, and only one CBD product has been approved by the FDA to date. This product, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, is designed to treat rare forms of childhood epilepsy. Aside from this product (which comes with stringent usage guidelines), many doctors are still learning about CBD. If you’re interested in the benefits of CBD, you may need to spark a conversation with your doctor.

Where to buy CBD in Kentucky?

An amber bottle filled with CBD oil, similar to the many options available online and in stores in Kentucky.

In Kentucky, processed hemp products that do not include raw hemp material can be marketed to consumers. The law has very few regulations regarding hemp sales, so you may find CBD products all over the state, including in grocery markets and convenience stores.

However, this lack of regulation can be risky.

Buying CBD online is a suitable option for most consumers. When you buy CBD online directly from the brand, you get better oversight of the brand’s manufacturing practices. Looking at the brand’s hemp source and lab testing procedures can help ensure that the CBD products you choose are clean, potent, and meet legal guidelines.

Buying CBD directly from a brand instead of from a third-party market may also be less costly since you won’t have to pay the extra fees that are often tacked on by the middle man. Of course, premium CBD can be expensive to manufacture, so you should also be wary of products that offer low-ball prices.

Finally, buying CBD online may be the best way to access many different types of CBD. The most common type of CBD product is an oil tincture, but you can find a variety of CBD edibles, topicals, and other specialty products when you shop online.

For more information on how to find high-quality CBD products, check out our CBD Buyer’s Guide.

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

The legal age to buy CBD is fuzzy, even when looking at federal regulations. In theory, CBD should be accessible to people of all ages, especially since it gained its popularity as a treatment for various childhood illnesses. Of course, some products may not be suitable for people of all ages, like smokable hemp flower or CBD vaporizers.

In Kentucky, there are no statewide regulations regarding the legal age to buy CBD. Instead, these laws may vary by jurisdiction and are more heavily impacted by the seller. Since the legal age for tobacco products has been raised to 21, many smoke shops may require users to be 21.

Many CBD brands allow customers who are 18 or older to order online and will ship legal CBD products to Kentucky.

Is CBD legal in all 50 states?

Thanks to federal updates, CBD has the potential to be legal in every U.S. state. CBD is legal in Kentucky, but every state has different regulations regarding the manufacture and sale of CBD. Click here to find out where CBD is legal.


  1. “H.R.5485 - Hemp Farming Act of 2018”
  2. “SB 124”
  3. “Hemp and the Law”
  4. “HB 333”
  5. “HCR35”
  6. “260.850”
  7. “7 U.S. Code 5940”

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