Is Delta-8 THC Legal in Kentucky?

Yes!  Despite previous bans and current efforts to ban Delta-8 THC, as of this article in April 2022, Delta-8 THC remains legal to possess, use, and sell in the state of Kentucky.  There is current legislation to ban delta-8 in the state of Kentucky so be sure to double-check your local laws as the legal status of delta-8 could change any day in Kentucky and it could vary county to county.

What is Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 is one of many cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant.  Delta-8 THC became legal federally with the passing of the 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act.  The 2018 Agriculture Improvement Act, also known as the 2018 Farm Bill became federal law and legalized hemp.  Hemp, also referred to as industrial hemp, is any cannabis plant containing less than .3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis.  This includes all cannabinoids, isomers, and distillates – as long as the product contains less than .3% delta-9 THC it is completely legal at the federal level.  Some states have taken it upon themselves to explicitly ban delta-8 THC as well but as of now the majority of the states in the US allow delta-8.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved delta-8 for any reason but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has explicitly states it’s legal and it’s not considered to be a controlled substance like delta-9, which most people refer to as marijuana.

CBG White, Delta8 Flower - Rolling Tray Photo

Why Purchase Delta-8 THC?

Delta-8 has exploded in popularity amongst users, retailers, and growers alike.  Delta-8 is sometimes referred to as “weed lite” or “diet weed” because it allows users to feel a mild, euphoric “high”.  Delta-8 is generally considered to be approximately 50-75% of the potency of marijuana.  Due to this more mild potency, delta-8 users have noted lower instances of paranoia and anxiety as when compared to delta-9 use.  

In addition to the legal, mild “high”, delta-8 users have also noted the following medical benefits:

  • Increased appetite

  • Reduced inflammation

  • Improved digestion

  • Help falling asleep

  • Chronic pain reduction

  • Reduced anxiety

What is Cannabidiol (CBD)?

Delta-8 is sometimes confused with cannabidiol (CBD) but they are different cannabinoids.  The biggest difference between the two cannabinoids is that delta-8 will get you “high” while CBD products are typically not psychoactive.  While delta-8 has been temporarily banned in the past and is currently under pressure to be banned in Kentucky, CBD has not faced any sort of political pressure.  The standing efforts to ban delta-8 in Kentucky specifically go after delta-8 for being an “intoxicating substance”.  If delta-8 is banned in the state of Kentucky by the state legislature, CBD will remain legal.

What is the Legislative History of Delta-8 in Kentucky?

Delta-8 was made legal federally with the 2018 Farm Bill.  Since 2018, around a dozen states have decided to ban delta-8 at the state level.  In April 2021,last year, Kentucky became one of the states that banned delta-8.  The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) issued a letter to hemp business and license holders stating that the delta-8 form of THC was considered a controlled substance at the federal and state level and selling the product could result in criminal prosecution.  This letter was explicitly proven to be inaccurate when the DEA said delta-8 was not considered a controlled substance but the KDA’s letter would still hold precedence until an injunction was filed in February 2022.

A hearing was held in December 2021 as requested by the Kentucky Hemp Association to address the legality of delta-8 THC at the state level.  In February 2022, Boone County Circuit Court Judge Richard Brueggemann ruled in favor of the Hemp Association filing an injunction making delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol and all isomers legal.  His ruling stated that if delta-8 and other similar hemp derivatives were supposed to be illegal, the legislation would explicitly state so.  A lot of confusion about the legality of delta-8 comes from the fact that most delta-8 is synthetically made.  Delta-8 is not a synthetic cannabinoid though, it is found naturally in the hemp plant in low quantities.  Delta-8 is only synthetically made for mass consumption, it is found naturally just in low quantities.

On March 9th, 2022 the Kentucky Senate passed SB 170 by a vote of 23-13 which is a bill that would make all intoxicating hemp products, including delta-8 illegal.  As of this article in late April 2022, the Kentucky House has not taken the bill up for a vote yet which is required before the bill can take effect.  The governor also has to sign the bill if it passes the House.   If this bill passes delta-8 and any other intoxicating hemp derivatives including delta-10 THC and HHC become illegal.

What Delta-8 THC Products are Available?

Delta-8 is available in many different forms including:

  • Gummies

  • Edibles

  • Flower

  • Pre-Rolls

  • Tinctures

  • Oils

  • Vapes

  • Cartridges

Like delta-9, delta-8 is available in many different forms.  Method of consumption for the most part will come down to personal preference as the different methods have different positives and negatives.  Regardless of which form you choose, always make sure the product you’re purchasing has undergone third party testing.  Most delta-8 seizures have been due to mislabeled products that contained over .3% delta-9 THC thereby making the products illegal.  

Is Medical Marijuana Legal in Kentucky?

No, medical and recreational marijuana remain completely illegal in the state of Kentucky. Delta-8 is more popular in states without any sort of legal marijuana program.  Delta-8 is a way more users of the cannabinoid to receive the benefits that have been reported from delta-8 use in addition to the euphoric high.  

Summary

Senate Bill 170 has made it through the Kentucky Senate but it has yet to be taken up by the Kentucky House.  If this pending bill is made into law, it would make all intoxicating hemp products, including delta-8 illegal.  Until this bill is made into law, delta-8 remains legal to purchase, possess, and use in the state of Kentucky due to a temporary injunction filed in February 2022.  Proponents of delta-8 in Kentucky point towards the revenue and jobs that delta-8 brings to the hemp industry within the state.  Banning delta-8 might be a fatal blow to all hemp farming in the state of Kentucky.  If you’re a Kentuckian make sure you’re staying up to date on delta-8’s legality because it could change at any time and it’s under constant pressure from state legislators.  If you’re wanting to purchase delta-8, make sure to do it soon because its days as a legal substance could be numbered in the Commonwealth of Kentucky if Kentucky lawmakers get their wish and SB 170 becomes state law.

What Types of Delta-8 THC products are available?

Flower & Pre-rolls

Delta-8 flower is the cheapest way to consume your delta-8 and is available in many different strains, each providing different effects. Bubba Kush 77 will relax you and help you unwind. It includes CBD content which provides anti-inflammatory properties while the delta-8 content will reduce pain and muscle tension. Bubba Kush 77 is also available in pre-rolls for easier use.

Cartridges

To easily consume your delta-8 on the go, you might want to look at vape cartridges. They’re available in many different flavors in addition to having a high concentration of delta-8 THC. This Mango Kush has a 93% delta-8 THC level and is perfect for pain relief and putting you to sleep.

Gummies

Edibles are a great option for delta-8 users who don’t want to have to smoke or vape to receive the benefits of delta-8. These delta-8 gummies, like all delta-8 products, are psychoactive and will have you feeling happy and euphoric, the feelings will just be much more mild than what you would expect from delta-9.

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