Hemp farmers and retailers in Kentucky can rejoice after a groundbreaking decision by a state judge in a legal battle with law enforcement.
A judge in Kentucky ruled in favor of the Kentucky Hemp Association following a lawsuit they filed last year against law enforcement over the controversial hemp-derived delta-8 THC. These products have caused a rift across the country as a loophole in non-legal states, and state authorities heavily targeted Kentucky hemp shops.
Kentucky Hemp Shops Association filed a lawsuit against the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, and State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. in 2021 following a letter targeting hemp products with delta-8 THC. The issue stemmed from the Department of Agriculture’s declaration that delta-8 THC is a “Schedule I controlled substance” under state and federal laws. Authorities threatened to expel farmers and retailers from the state’s hemp program if they didn’t comply.
Kentucky Agriculture’s announcement led to a rift with hemp farmers and retailers who began facing police raids, even though delta-8 THC was legalized federally in 2018. The Department of Agriculture argued that hemp advocates told lawmakers that hemp had no intoxicating substances. A spokesperson said that the legalization of hemp occurred because of a clear-cut difference from marijuana.
Though the KYHA won its case against authorities, there’s still a possibility that some of the retailers risk losing their licenses. The request for an injunction from the Kentucky Department Of Agriculture failed to pull through, but overall, it’s a massive win for retailers and farmers.