Hemp and the Law
Industrial hemp plants, viable seed, leaf and floral materials remain a Schedule I Controlled Substance under state and federal law; no person can grow, handle, or process industrial hemp in Kentucky without a hemp license issued by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
As stated in KRS 260.858(3), "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 industrial hemp plants or viable seeds, leaf materials, or floral materials derived from industrial hemp. Penalties for persons who cultivate, handle, process, or market living industrial hemp plants or viable seeds, leaf materials, or floral materials derived from industrial hemp without a license are the same as those penalties that are applicable to persons who violate KRS Chapter 218A, relating to marijuana.”
For applicable Kentucky Revised Statutes, Kentucky Administrative Regulations, and more information, look under“Forms & Documents” in the right column (mobile devices scroll down).
Hemp derived CBD products are legal in Kentucky pursuant to 40 KRS 218A.010(27) (Scroll down to number 27).
License Holders investing at this early stage in the research should be aware that federal law is subject to change. There is uncertainty at the federal level on what parts of the hemp plant can be lawfully sold. The Joint Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp released on August, 12 2016 by three federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), attempted to redefine the federal definition of hemp by limiting industrial hemp research to “industrial purposes (fiber and seed)”. Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles rejected this assertion in a letter sent to federal agencies. The statement, and response letters from Commissioner Quarles and members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation, can be found in the right column under “Forms & Documents” (mobile devices scroll down).
On March 26, 2018, Commissioner Quarles and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that legislation will be introduced in the U.S. Senate to legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances.