Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Kentucky?

By | last updated December 6, 2021

Evidence Based 6

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It’s not quite clear if delta 8 is legal in Kentucky or not. Hemp products are legal in the state, which should also make delta 8 legal. 

But Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture argues that delta 8 is illegal and some vendors have been raided by the police.

Here’s a closer look at delta 8 legality in Kentucky.


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Kentucky Delta-8 THC Laws

Delta 8 laws in Kentucky are confusing.

On one hand, marijuana is illegal in the state, and tetrahydrocannabinol is a controlled substance. But on the other hand, hemp products are legal in Kentucky:

“Hemp products” or “industrial hemp products” means products derived from, or made by, processing hemp plants or plant parts…

Statute 260.850

That should mean that hemp-derived delta 8 products are exempt from the definition of marijuana and therefore legal. But it’s not clear.

To make matters worse, Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture released a letter in April 2021 arguing that “delta-8 THC is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law and Kentucky law.”

There has also been news of police raiding delta 8 vendors after the letter. 

As a result, the Kentucky Hemp Association filed a lawsuit against the state’s agriculture and police commissioners, arguing that delta 8 is legal under federal and state laws.

The bottom line is that you can buy delta 8 in Kentucky, even if nobody seems to know for sure if it’s legal. On top of that, the laws could change in the near future (more on that at the end of the article).

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8-THC is a form of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabis compound that gets you high. It’s slightly different from delta-9, which is the most common form of THC in cannabis plants. 

But it can produce all of the same effects, including euphoria, sleepiness, and relaxation (1). The only major difference is that delta 8 is weaker than delta 9.

Why Delta-8 THC is Federally Legal

Delta 8 THC is legal on the national level because of an unintended loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill legalized hemp and hemp products as long as they contain no more than 0.3% delta-9 THC.

Since the bill doesn’t place a limit on delta 8, a hemp-derived delta 8 product is technically legal.

As it happens, all of the delta 8 products on the market are made through a simple chemical reaction from CBD, the main cannabinoid in hemp.

States Where Delta-8 THC is Illegal

Every state can choose to regulate delta 8 in its own way.

Delta-8 THC is currently illegal in 14 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New York, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Utah, and Washington.

The Future of Delta 8 in Kentucky

Although it’s not clear if delta 8 is legal in Kentucky, you’ll be able to find it at local stores and online vendors.

But that could soon change. The state is working on a bill that will decriminalize marijuana.

But the bill will also allegedly treat delta 8 the same way as adult-use marijuana. If that happens, delta 8 will be regulated and only available from licensed retailers. 

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