Is weed legal in Kentucky? Adult-use and medical weed are illegal in the Bluegrass State. However, the state allows the use of low-THC products for a limited number of patients. Despite its anti-pot stance, lawmakers and residents are increasingly showing support for legal weed.
Is Adult-Use Cannabis Legal in Kentucky?
Adult-use weed is illegal in the state. Weed flower and concentrates are banned and carry the same possession and sale penalties. While adult-use pot use is banned, the state does not have a minimum sentence for weed possession or sale.
Possession of less than 8 ounces of weed is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 45 days in jail and up to a $250 fine. Marijuana possession of 8 ounces or more would be charged with an intent to sell. Possession of weed paraphernalia is a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Sale or Trafficking
Selling less than 8 ounces is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of 1 year and up to a $500 fine. Subsequent offenses are felonies punishable by 1-10 years and up to a $10,000 fine. Selling to a minor is a felony punishable by 5-20 years and up to a $10,000 fine. Selling within 1,000 yards of a school is a felony punishable by 1-5 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
Growing less than 5 plants is a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail and up to a $500 fine for the first offense. A subsequent offense is a felony punishable by 1-5 years and up to a $10,000 fine. Selling 5 plants or more for the first or subsequent offense is a felony punishable by 1-10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
The state allows conditional release for first-time offenders. The conditional release allows people to choose probation over a trial. After completing the probation, the person’s criminal charge won’t stay on their record. This allows first-time offenders to avoid any long-term consequences.
In 2019, Jefferson County announced it would no longer prosecute cases involving 1 ounce or less of weed. In the same year, the city of Louisville passed an ordinance telling police not to prioritize weed possession.
A provision in the state’s revenue laws requires users to buy tax stamps for their illegal weed. State-issued tax stamps must be affixed to the weed product. Failure to buy the appropriate tax stamp could result in a fine and/or criminal penalty.
A tax stamp costs $3.50 per gram if the owner possesses 42.5 grams or more. A tax stamp is $1,000 per plant if the owner possesses 5 plants or more. The penalty for nonpayment is 200% of the tax fee and a felony charge.
Is Medical Marijuana Use Legal in Kentucky?
Medical pot use is illegal in the state. However, the state passed a limited law in April 2014. The law allows epilepsy patients to use low-THC oil with a doctor’s recommendation. The law did not establish regulations for the production or sale of CBD.
In 2015, lawmakers attempted to establish medical pot laws with House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 40. Both bills failed due to intense blowback from the anti-weed National Marijuana Initiative and the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
In February 2020, House Bill 136 passed 65 to 30 in the House. It was the first time a weed bill has been up for a vote on the House floor. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate delayed the vote. They wanted to focus on the budget and pandemic response before adjourning for the year in April.
Is CBD/Hemp Legal in Kentucky?
Since 1775, the state has grown hemp for industrial purposes. Even as hemp production lowered in other states, Kentucky’s industry remained alive into the 20th century. A 1914 USDA report noted that “practically all of the hemp grown in the United States is from seed produced in Kentucky.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is one of the state’s top Congressional representatives. He was helpful in his support for the 2018 Farm Bill. As a result, hemp-derived CBD is legal in the state. Hemp flower products are banned. Despite his support for legal hemp in the state, he still opposes legal weed.
Kentuckians Support Legalization
Support for legal weed has been growing in the Bluegrass state. U.S Senator Rand Paul stated his support for a patient’s right to try medical weed in March 2018. Governor Beshear showed support for medical weed during his campaign. He was elected in November 2019.
An overwhelming majority of Kentuckians support medical pot. A February 2020 Kentucky Health Issues Poll found that nine out of ten residents support it. 60% of respondents said that weed should be legal under “any circumstances.”
Kentucky Cannabis College
Support for Kentucky’s pot industry is at an all-time high. Clinical research is showing the effectiveness and safety of weed for a variety of medical conditions. Learn all about the developments in medicine, law, and other industry segments with online weed education. Enroll in CTU’s Kentucky cannabis college today!