Kentucky has a long history of opposing marijuana legalization. The state was one of the last we eliminated when trying to guess which would hypothetically be the last to legalize. It should come as no surprise to anyone that marijuana is not legal in Kentucky. It’s not all bleak news though. Possession of small quantities and first-time offenders may be charged with less harsh fines than other states where cannabis is also illegal. Less harsh still doesn’t sound that appealing though. Marijuana is still not legal in Kentucky, however the tide is slowly turning.
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Recreational Marijuana in Kentucky
Recreational marijuana is illegal in Kentucky. Possessing less than 8 ounces of marijuana counts as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 45 days in prison and a $250 fine. The sale of fewer than 8 ounces as a first offense falls under a Class A misdemeanor. Offenders can be charged with up to a 1-year jail term and a $500 fine. Repeat offenders, or selling more than 8 ounces of marijuana may result in anywhere from 1 to 20 years imprisonment, and up to $10,000 in fines. It’s hard to believe that this is “less harsh” than some other states, but it’s unfortunately true.
Medical Marijuana in Kentucky
Although medical marijuana is illegal in Kentucky, in 2014 the state passed a bill allowing the use of low-THC cannabis. The bill essentially differentiates low-THC, high-CBD oil from cannabis. Patients with uncontrollable epilepsy can legally access the low-THC oil, provided they have a written recommendation from a doctor.
Authorities in Kentucky have previously proposed medical cannabis bills, however, none have yet to pass. Earlier this year another bill was proposed. This bill would essentially give doctors more control overprescribing patients cannabis products when they see fit. Currently, this bill is the first of its kind to have ever advanced in Kentucky’s statehouse.
Should this bill pass, it would allow patients access to medical marijuana so they could make their own edibles, oils and tinctures. Smoking would not be allowed, however enforcing that would obviously have its difficulties.
Weed Laws Of Connecticut?
The 2018 Farm Bill
In 2018, the federal government reclassified hemp from a schedule I drug. Hemp was previously classified the same as heroin, while also being viewed as not having as much medical value as meth or cocaine, which are both schedule II. This was done through the 2018 Farm Bill, or more formally known as the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. CBD derived from hemp was also legalized through this bill, provided its THC content is less than 0.3%.
If you live in Kentucky and don’t have a doctor’s prescription for CBD, extracting CBD yourself still remains illegal. Any consumption of CBD products must be from a licensed producer. To add to the confusion, given that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has authority over drugs and their ingredients, CBD products legally being sold must be approved by the FDA. Currently in the US the CBD market has largely gone unregulated with little oversight from the FDA, however they do have the power and authority to fully regulate this market.
Cultivating Marijuana in Kentucky
With both recreational and medical marijuana still not legal in Kentucky, it’s no surprise that growing marijuana is definitely illegal. Growing less than five plants as a first-time offense is punishable by 1-year of jail time and $500 in fines. Getting caught a second time or more, and the resulting jail time could be 1 to 5 years in prison with $10,000 in fines. Growing five plants or more could land you with up to 10 years in jail and $10,000 in fines.
Kentucky is a large hemp producer in the US. According to hempindustrydail.com, Kentucky was the 4th biggest producer of hemp in 2018, having 6,700 acres of land growing licensed hemp. This was only behind Montana, Colorado, and Oregon, which produced 22000, 21578, and 7808 acres respectively. The Kentucky figures are pretty impressive when you consider that the three largest hemp producing states are all within the top 10 largest states by area. For comparison, Kentucky is the 37th largest US state. Colorado and Oregon also have legal recreational weed too.
Reports from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture states that as of August 2018, there are more than 110 hemp producers that have acquired licenses. Production is only expected to increase too, with the world’s largest hemp processing plant soon to open in Kentucky. On top of this, a 41-acre greenhouse in Kentucky is also shifting to hemp production. The greenhouse is currently the sixth-largest commercial greenhouse within the country and will be shifting to only produce hemp.
Kentucky is currently discussing medicinal marijuana. Polls show that over 80 percent of the US public supports some form of medical marijuana system to be implemented. The number of US states without medical marijuana is quickly dwindling, leaving only 17 left, including Kentucky.
Until recently, Kentucky was completely surrounded by states without legal recreational marijuana. With Illinois legalizing, this has broken the metaphorical buffer zone of cannabis free states. Along with the quickly dwindling list of states without a medical marijuana program, the number of states not bordering a state with recreational weed is also becoming scarce.
Whether Kentuckians like it or not, cannabis is becoming more prevalent everywhere. With the opening of the world’s largest processing plant for hemp in Kentucky, more local production will be required. Residents of Kentucky could see hemp farms popping up next door. This could even go as far as Kentucky becoming synonymous once again with hemp.
During the 1800’s and early 1900s, Kentucky was the largest producer of hemp in the country. The State could very much be returning to its former glory, being known for its hemp, bourbon, and chicken. Marijuana is not yet legal in Kentucky, however, things are changing, and they’re changing fast.