Is It Legal To Use Cannabis In Kentucky?

If you’re planning to visit any state or country and are looking to light up a “doobie” there, you should do your research beforehand. The first thing you need to do is find out if marijuana is legal in that particular region. 

Cannabis has now been legalized in 19 states across the United States. Therefore, it can be pretty tempting to try your luck and hope that the state you’re visiting has legalized it, too.

Is It Legal To Use Cannabis In Kentucky?

But, that means 31 states have not legalized the use of marijuana, so you must find out if you can legally enjoy a cheeky joint before lighting up.

If you’re visiting Kentucky, you’ve probably become aware that it is one of the nation’s leading cultivators of hemp. But, when it comes to marijuana, Kentucky has some very strict rules surrounding the substance. In fact, only Georgia, Kansas, and Indiana arguably have harsher laws. 

It may be confusing, but hemp is legal in Kentucky. Therefore, you can enjoy psychoactive cannabinoids, such as delta 8 THC without worrying about the long arm of the law. But, caught with a joint, the storyline can be very different.

Today, we are going to talk about marijuana laws and the use of Hemp in the State of Kentucky.

Cannabis: Legal Or Illegal In Kentucky?

Simply put, marijuana is not legal in Kentucky, no matter how you intend to use it. There are very harsh laws in place for those caught with even the smallest amounts of cannabis possession. 

Although there is a program for medical marijuana being introduced in Kentucky, the state has not yet discovered a viable distribution network for such products yet. 

Medical Marijuana Laws In Kentucky

If you were hoping Kentucky had slacker laws regarding medical marijuana, then we’re afraid you’re going to be disappointed.

All cannabis use in Kentucky is illegal, including medical marijuana. However, House Bill 136 passes 65 to 30 in 2020. This was the first medical cannabis bill undertaken by the full house. 

Before the vote was finalized, though, Covid-19 put a pause on proceedings. But, on March 17, 2022, the Kentucky House of Representatives voted again. This time, the votes came in at 59-32 to pass the medical marijuana bill, HB 136.

This vote was the second time the Full House had voted on this issue and both times they have passed it. 

Although the Kentucky House passed this new marijuana bill, the state is still waiting for the final approval from the senate. But, the future of medical cannabis use in Kentucky is looking quite bright at the moment. 

Recreational legalization was also attempted in 2015, but that was a failure. However, in 2014, a legislation of CBD trials was passed. Governor Steve Beshear signed a new law allowing patients the use of non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) derivatives, as long as it was recommended by a physician.

Also, these had to be under trials that took place at the University of Kentucky for epilepsy treatment

Penalties For Cannabis Possession In Kentucky 

If a police officer finds marijuana on you in Kentucky, you will face certain penalties. You may be charged with possession of the drug. This is a Class B misdemeanor with a punishment of a fine up to $250 and the possibility of 45 days in prison.

This Class B misdemeanor penalty is for first-time offenders only. If you are caught with 8 ounces or fewer of cannabis for a second time, you could be sent to prison for a whole year and have to pay a fine of $500. 

Marijuana Legislation Future In Kentucky 

Is It Legal To Use Cannabis In Kentucky?

As we now know, Kentucky voted to legalize medical marijuana in early 2022. However, a medical marijuana program is still yet to be established, as well as a distribution network. This could take months or years. 

Interestingly, in February 2022, Democrats from Kentucky made an announcement that excited marijuana users throughout the state. They stated that they were filing a legislation that would legalize both medical and recreational cannabis use.

Not only this, but the bill would expunge any cannabis-related convictions made in the state.

The new legislation is to be considered in the General Assembly later in 2022. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for some good news!

Legal Alternatives To Marijuana In Kentucky: Hemp 

Because the possession and use of cannabis is heavily regulated in Kentucky, many of the state’s residents look elsewhere for legal THC alternatives to get high. 

Up until a few years ago, residents were limited to using non-intoxicating cannabinoids from hemp, like CBC and CBG. However, recent years have seen breakthroughs in extraction processes.

Now, hemp developers can obtain usable quantities of delta 8 THC by converting heavy metal reagents and CBD with acids. 

Under the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp-derived delta 8 products are deemed to be legal. This is because they only contain less than 0.3% THC.

Using Delta 8 THC products has both beneficial and negative side effects, as seen here:

Benefits Of Delta 8 THC

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-nausea
  • Paint relief
  • Neuroprotection
  • Helps increase appetite
  • Helps users feel calmer and more relaxed

Drawbacks Of Delta 8 THC

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Acts as a sedative
  • Sweating
  • Can increase the heart rate in some
  • Confusion
  • Impairs short-term memory
  • Can cause issues with coordination

Since Delta 8 THC is biphasic in its nature, it can breach the tolerance of some sensitive users. This can lead to feelings of uneasiness, anxiety, and mental discomfort. 

But, for many, large doses simply get them high and induce feelings of euphoria and can even sharpen their senses.

In Summary

Currently, cannabis is illegal in Kentucky. Although a bill was passed to legalize medical marijuana in early 2022, the state still awaits final approval from the senate. Until then, possession and use of cannabis is a criminal offense throughout the state of Kentucky. 

Josh Barton
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