cbd legal in kentucky

CBD Oil in Kentucky: 2020 Legal Status and Where to Buy

Disclaimer: All of the information in this guide is based on our own research into the topic. We have done our best to use accurate and up-to-date information from respected and credible resources. However, we cannot claim to be a legal authority, and none of the following information should be taken as legal advice.


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A Guide to CBD Oil in Kentucky

  • Kentucky is the leading hemp-growing state in the U.S.
  • The Kentucky Department of Agriculture oversees the growing and processing of hemp in the state.
  • Kentucky brought in millions of dollars in 2019 growing and processing hemp for CBD.
  • People all over Kentucky are buying CBD products of every kind.
  • You can buy CBD at retailers and specialty shops everywhere in the state.

Is CBD Oil Legal in Kentucky?

CBD is everywhere these days. People are buying oils, gummies, vapes and creams from their local Walgreens, 7-Elevens and specialty shops across the country. Even in states that have strict cannabis laws, consumers seem to have no problem buying their preferred type of CBD products on demand.

However, many people remain confused about CBD laws in Kentucky and other states. Even those who regularly purchase CBD are not completely clear on the laws. Most people assume it is legal because they can buy it in mainstream stores, but the legalities surrounding CBD are far more complicated than that.

In 2014, the federal government enacted a law that separated hemp from marijuana, by defining hemp as having 0.3 percent THC or less. That bill gave states the ability to start working with growers and universities to research growing and processing hemp on a noncommercial level.

In 2018, another Farm Bill passed, indicating that the research period was over and it was time to allow states to develop their own hemp-growing and -processing programs. Since hemp is legally different from marijuana, it suddenly became a valuable crop for textiles.

However, the authorities had not anticipated the enthusiasm for CBD, and the FDA suddenly had an expanding market that it was unprepared to regulate. Thus, major confusion ensued surrounding a product that had been on the DEA’s list of controlled substances only a couple of years before.

Are There CBD Laws in Kentucky?

CBD laws in Kentucky are about as confusing as it gets, especially considering that the Bluegrass State is one of the nation’s leaders in hemp production. The state has a robust hemp-farming and -processing program, but government websites say little on the matter of CBD.

When you are trying to figure out the legality of CBD in Kentucky, you are going to need to dig deep. It appears that the state adheres to the federal statute that CBD contain no more than 0.3 percent THC, but allows for higher levels of THC with a prescription, despite the lack of a medical marijuana program.

CBD in Kentucky: Understanding Different Types of CBD Products


CBD oil is the gold standard for CBD products, and almost every company that makes CBD sells oil. Most companies offer a wide range of flavors and doses.

One of the nice things about this type of CBD is that you have a high level of control over what you are getting, because you can take just a few drops or a whole dropperful. Penguin’s CBD oils are pure and simple, and you’ll appreciate the straightforwardness of our products.


Our CBD oil is made with the best Oregon grown hemp. Comes in mint, citrus, natural, strawberry and cookies & cream flavors.

CBD Capsules

We here at Penguin CBD understand your busy lifestyle, and we know that sometimes you would rather think about your to-do list than your CBD routine. With our fast-acting CBD capsules, all you have to do is decide how many you want to take. They come in a manageable 10mg dose, so you can take one or several depending on your needs.

CBD Capsules

Convenient, discreet and travel-ready, our CBD capsules can be taken anywhere with ease. Each capsule contains 10mg of our broad-spectrum hemp extract suspended in MCT oil.

CBD Gummies

Fun and discreet, CBD gummies are perfect for when you just want something a little extra. They make an excellent snack, and their sweet-and-sour sugar coating will remind you of going to the movies. Each Penguin CBD gummy contains 10mg of CBD, and it is up to you to decide if you want just one, or a whole handful.

CBD Gummies

Made with the purest CBD isolate, our CBD gummy worms are a treat for your taste buds. Every container contains 30 individual worms, with each one packing 10mg of CBD.

CBD Cream

When you open a jar of Penguin CBD cream, prepare to be transported. Our CBD cream is infused with peppermint and lavender for one of the most immersive moisturizing experiences on the market today. Enjoy locked-in moisture and softer, smoother skin. Get your glow on with the CBD cream our customers love.

CBD Cream

Our CBD cream is a luxurious cream that’s silky smooth and cooling upon contact. Its terpene rich formula is designed to be absorbed quickly.

Industrial Hemp in Kentucky

Kentucky’s hemp heritage goes back to the 18th century, when settlers first arrived in Kentucky and began developing the region agriculturally. The laws surrounding hemp changed dramatically with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, and farming essentially stopped across the nation.

The Farm Bills passed through the federal government have allowed Kentucky to reclaim its heritage as a hemp-producing state, and it is currently the No. 1 producer of hemp and hemp products in the country. The state’s hemp-growing program has exploded in the last few years, and the plant is now a major crop in Kentucky.

In 2014, Kentucky had just 20 approved growers and nine processors. As of 2019, the state’s industry has grown to 978 approved growers and 200 processors. Ninety-two percent of its nearly 25,000 harvested acres have gone to CBD production.

Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture oversees the enormous program, and there are resources galore for those looking to break into the industry. The state is proud of the fact that it was able to bring back a crop that had once died out due to restrictive legislation, and residents used the new industry to generate new jobs and over $50 million dollars in revenue.

Can I Purchase CBD Online in Kentucky?

Purchasing CBD

You can find CBD products almost anywhere in Kentucky, but you need to be careful about what you are buying. There are some specialty stores, mostly around Lexington and Louisville, and you can find some fabulous Kentucky-made CBD in stores closer to larger cities.

Farther out, or at convenience stores, you may have a harder time ensuring your products are high quality.

Shopping online for your CBD is always a convenient and safe bet, because you can make sure you do your research and investigate what you are getting. Many stores do not supply third-party lab results for customers to look at, so it is challenging to verify that your products are coming from reputable sources.

CBD Oil in Kentucky

Even though Kentucky may be one of the best states in which to get your CBD from the source, there are still companies that are concerned with profits at the expense of your health and safety. Some companies do not label their products accurately; others use hemp that is of lower quality in order to save money.

You need to do your homework before choosing which CBD company to buy your products from. A little investigation can go a long way. Always find out where the hemp used in your CBD is sourced, and insist on seeing a certificate verifying that the batch has been through independent lab testing to confirm your products are labeled accurately.


One of the best things about Penguin’s CBD products is that it is so easy to verify our quality. We take your wellness seriously, and you can find a certificate of analysis for each of our products on the product page. Our hemp is grown naturally using the perfect strains for our formulas, and we pride ourselves on our transparency.

Our team consists of experts across a variety of fields to bring you the best CBD on the market today. We want to support your efforts at balance, and we always strive to make our customers feel comfortable and confident with any product you choose.

Final Thoughts About CBD Oil in Kentucky

Part of the reason it may be such a challenge to decipher CBD law in Kentucky is that legislators haven’t given it much thought. The bill that made it legal to commercially grow and process hemp took CBD off the list of controlled substances in the state’s eyes, and lawmakers never looked back.

Despite the hemp boom in the Bluegrass State, marijuana laws are still highly restrictive, which may contribute to the confusion among consumers. Even though the 2018 Farm Bill was supposed to have clarified that cannabis plants with 0.3 percent THC or less qualify as industrial hemp (not marijuana), state laws seem to still have the two confused sometimes.

One thing that is clear in Kentucky, however, is the fact that people everywhere are benefiting from the relaxing of hemp and CBD laws. The state has brought in millions of dollars in revenue and created new jobs, and most of the hemp is grown for CBD.

Some of the confusion in the state has led to a lack of consumer protections, which means that disreputable companies selling CBD can make their way into shops and retailers all over Kentucky.

One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a quality product is to shop online with a trusted brand like Penguin CBD. Visit our website today to find a full line of products that meet all of your CBD needs.

Curious about the legal status of CBD oil in Kentucky? We have you covered with this guide.

Is CBD oil legal in Kentucky?

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  1. What is CBD?
  2. Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
  3. Kentucky CBD laws
  4. Where to buy CBD in Kentucky
  5. How to read CBD labels and packaging

Hemp is a crop that connects Kentucky’s past with its future. In the 18th century, Kentucky was one of the largest suppliers of hemp in the United States until the 1930s, when both hemp and cannabis were criminalized. Following the 2014 Farm Bill, Kentucky reinstated hemp as a crop and has since developed a robust industrial hemp pilot program.

Non-psychoactive CBD was first legalized in Kentucky in 2014 for eligible patients under SB 124. The bill made no provision for the sale or production of CBD outside medical contexts. In 2017, hemp-derived CBD products with 0.3% THC or less became legal for all consumers in Kentucky.

Kentucky has no medical cannabis program at present. Adult-use cannabis is illegal. The possession of small amounts of cannabis has been decriminalized in Jefferson County and Louisville.

What is CBD?

CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is largely responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.

Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.

Why is CBD sometimes illegal?

All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don’t produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.

The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.

The FDA has declared that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.

In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may also regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies.

Kentucky CBD laws

Kentucky residents may legally purchase and consume hemp-derived CBD products on the provision that the product contains no more than 0.3% THC or other cannabinoids. Hemp-derived CBD cannot be sold in flower form.

In 2014, hemp cultivation was legalized with the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill. In that same year, 2014, Gov. Steve Beshear signed SB 124, a law that allowed eligible patients to access hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products with a physician’s written order. CBD derived from cannabis is illegal in Kentucky for medicinal purposes. Two bills proposing the creation of a medicinal cannabis framework were passed over in 2015.

The 2014 Farm Bill catalyzed the creation of Kentucky’s industrial hemp pilot program, with regulations drafted and overseen by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). In 2017, Kentucky lawmakers passed HB 333, which broadly legalized the consumption and retail sale of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products that contain 0.3% THC or less.

In April 2018, Kentucky legislators published HCR35 in 2018 before the Farm Bill was signed into law, urging the FDA to remove hemp from the definition of marijuana and its Schedule 1 classification. When the 2018 Farm Bill passed, Kentucky lawmakers approved HB 197 to align the state’s definition of industrial hemp with that of the federal government.

There is no specific legislation in Kentucky regarding the use of CBD in food or beverages.

Licensing requirements for CBD

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is responsible for the management and oversight of the state’s hemp program. The 2020 growing season will see Kentucky shift from its research pilot program to full commercial hemp production under its USDA approved state hemp plan.

Only license holders registered with the KDA can grow hemp. Home cultivation of hemp without a license, or of cannabis with greater than 0.3% THC content, is illegal. Those interested in applying for a license to grow hemp must supply a criminal background check. To qualify for a license, the applicant must have no felony convictions or drug-related misdemeanors dated within the past ten years.

Farmers participating in the program must use seeds provided by an educational institution with a DEA license and use varieties expected to be low in THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Farmers participating in the program must use seeds provided by an educational institution with a DEA license and use varieties expected to be low in THC. The state tests a sample of each licensed farmer’s hemp crop. The lab test results must confirm that the final product contains no more than 0.3% THC content. Growers and processors are required by law to save their lab test results to ensure their availability to the KDA and law enforcement officials for a minimum of three years.

Kentucky CBD possession limits

The possession of any amount of CBD is legal in Kentucky on the condition that the product contains less than 0.3% THC by weight.

CBD derived from cannabis is illegal, even for medical patients. Possession of up to eight ounces of cannabis can lead to 45 days in prison and a $250 fine, while a subsequent offense of fewer than eight ounces may result in a felony charge, 1 to 5 years in prison, and a maximum $10,000 fine. Cannabis possession of more than eight ounces results in increased imprisonment.

Where to buy CBD in Kentucky

Kentucky residents can legally purchase hemp-derived CBD products in stores and online, as long as the product contains no more than 0.3% THC. Consumers can find CBD products at CBD-specific stores and grocers such as Whole Foods or Walgreens.

When purchasing from a brick and mortar shop, particularly if the store specializes in CBD, you can typically receive guidance from an employee. Explain what you’re looking for, your reasons for consuming CBD, and they can point you in the right direction.

When it comes to online sales, CBD is most frequently found on brand-specific websites. You can also find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, the other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.

To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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While many online checkout systems support US-based CBD sellers, some companies like Paypal consider CBD a “restricted business” and don’t support online sales. Confirm the websites’ checkout system before purchasing CBD online.

How to read CBD labels and packaging

The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.

Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used. Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.

Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:

  • Amount of active CBD per serving.
  • Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
  • Net weight.
  • Manufacturer or distributor name.
  • Suggested use.
  • Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
  • Batch or date code.

Is CBD oil legal in Kentucky? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Kentucky CBD laws Where to