Kentucky has historically not been open to cannabis legalization. It has yet to legalize medical cannabis or decriminalize cannabis possession. However, possession of small amounts and first time offenses are dealt with relatively less harshly than others states where cannabis is illegal.
CBD from Hemp Oil in Kentucky
Hemp CBD oil is federally legal in the U.S. Individual state laws, however, are dynamic and some states have and will enact their own laws regulating hemp-derived CBD. Kentucky may be one state that governs hemp-derived CBD.
Medical Cannabis in Kentucky
Medical cannabis is illegal in Kentucky, however the state has passed a medical CBD bill. Kentucky’s CBD law, passed in 2014, authorizes CBD oil to be excluded from the definition of cannabis, and thereby legal for patients with intractable epilepsy who have a written recommendation from a physician.
Kentucky legislators did propose comprehensive medical cannabis bills in 2014, 2015, and 2016, but in all instances the legislature failed to pass the legislation or adjourned without taking action. Still, the legislators’ continuing efforts to present these bills leave activists hopeful that soon one will gain enough support to pass.
Recreational Cannabis in Kentucky
Recreational cannabis is illegal in Kentucky however there are no minimum mandatory sentences for marijuana possession or sale. Possession of less than 8 ounces of recreational cannabis is charged as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by 45 days in jail with a $250 fine. Sale of less than 8 ounces as a first offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a 1-year jail term and $500 in fines.
Subsequent offenses of selling the same quantity and sale of more than 8 ounces of recreational cannabis are charged as felonies and punishable by 1 to 10 years in jail with up to $10,000 in fines.
Conditional release can be allowed for first time offenders. They can also get alternative or diversion sentencing.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Kentucky
The state of Kentucky is positioning itself to become the nation’s largest producer of industrial hemp in anticipation of federal policy reform to allow for commercial production of the crop. Senate Bill 50 was passed in 2013, which made cultivation of industrial hemp legal for state-sponsored research.
Unlicensed cultivation is still a serious crime in the state. Cultivation of less than 5 plants first-time offense is charged as a misdemeanor with 1-year imprisonment and $500 in fines. The subsequent offense is charged as felony with 1 year to 5 years in jail with $10,000 in fines. The first offense of cultivating 5 plants or more is a felony, punishable by 1 to 5 years in jail with $10,000 in fines. The subsequent offense is also charged as felony with 5 to 10 years in jail with $10,000 in fines.