Marijuana Laws in Kentucky

In the late 18th century Kentucky, hemp was a thriving crop cultivated to make fiber. The local farmers continued growing the plant into the 20th century, even when the neighboring states stopped producing it.


The following passages will elaborate on the marijuana and CBD laws of Kentucky.


Marijuana in Kentucky


During the early 1900s, virtually all of the hemp cultivated in the U.S. was from seed produced in the Bluegrass State. Today, Kentucky is one of 17 U.S. states where recreational, as well as medical marijuana, are both illegal. You cannot smoke pot anywhere, and possessing any amount will incarcerate you for 45 days. Also, if a distribution intent is established, a small amount is enough to imprison you for a year. Moreover, an attempt to cultivate less than five plants is a Misdemeanor punished by 12-months imprisonment and a $500 fine.


Furthermore, later in 2018, Gov. Matt Bevin stated that adult-use marijuana will not become a possibility while he’s in the office.


Medical Marijuana


In March 2019, the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee held a vote on medicinal marijuana (House Bill 136), which resulted in an overwhelmingly favorable 16-1 vote. The bill will now go through a legislative session.


Earlier in 2015, the newly-elected Gov. Matt Bevin showed expressive support for medical weed on the campaign trail. Four years on, the 62nd Governor of Kentucky hasn’t displayed much leadership on the matter. Although, the Governor repeatedly maintains that he will approve a medical marijuana bill if it reaches his office.


As of now, Kentucky has a cannabis tax stamp law, which requires you to put a state-issued stamp on your medicinal contraband. A failure to put stamps will result in a fine and/or criminal prosecution.


CBD Oil Laws in Kentucky


The 2013 SB 50 promoted state-sponsored hemp research, and the 2014 Kentucky Senate Bill 124 exempted industrial hemp from the definition of cannabis. Three years later, the approval of House Bill 333 accorded statewide legal status to CBD-based products. The state oversaw the cultivation of 6,700 acres of hemp in 2018, which is a far cry from the measly 33 acres farmed in 2014.


Today, KDA – The Kentucky Department of Agriculture governs the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program. However, no person can grow or process industrial hemp in the Bluegrass State without obtaining a KDA license.




You can have all the fried chicken in Kentucky, but not a trace of Mary Jane. This southeastern state is one of the 17 U.S. states where adult-use, as well as medical weed both, are banned. Moreover, Gov. Matt Bevin is a staunch opposer of recreational marijuana and has vowed not to legalize it during his tenure.


However, earlier in 2019, the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee approved a medicinal marijuana bill, which will now go through a legislative session. Lastly, KDA governs the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program in Kentucky and also issues licenses to grow and process the crop.