Kentucky Hemp Legislation

Industrial Hemp Program


The Kentucky Department of Agriculture Industrial Hemp Program is the result of the passage of two separate laws: Kentucky’s Senate Bill 50, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2013, and the 2014 Federal Farm Bill signed into law February 7, 2014. Senate Bill 50 exempted industrial hemp from the state controlled substances act but also mandated that Kentucky follow all federal rules and regulations with respect to industrial hemp. The Federal Farm Bill allows state departments of agriculture, in states where industrial hemp is legal, to administer industrial hemp pilot programs in conjunction with universities for the purposes of research and development.

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Senate Bill 50

Senate Bill 50 was passed in the Kentucky General Assembly in the final hour of the legislature’s 2013 session. It took effect in the summer of 2013. The goal of Senate Bill 50 is to help Kentucky move to the forefront of industrial hemp production and commercialization of hemp products.


  • Calls on the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station, as well as other Kentucky public universities, to conduct research on hemp planting, cultivation, and analysis on demonstration plots.
  • Establishes the membership of the Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission.
  • Directs the commission to establish and oversee a five-year hemp research program.
  • Provides that the commission shall work with the UK Center for Applied Energy Research to study the use of hemp in new energy technologies and work with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to raise awareness of financial incentives for businesses that manufacture hemp products.
  • Sets up a fund to finance the administrative services of the commission and the industrial hemp research program.
  • Charges the commission with establishing a program to license Kentucky hemp growers.
  • Requires the Kentucky State Police to perform background checks on producers who apply to grow industrial hemp.
  • Sets out record-keeping and filing requirements of industrial hemp growers, and establishes penalties for failing to comply.
  • Affirms that information on hemp grower applications is proprietary and is subject to inspection only under a court order

Find Senate Bill 50 here.


2013 Federal Farm Billobamasigningbill

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill of 2013 into law. Section 7606 of the act, Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research, defines industrial hemp as distinct and authorizes institutions of higher education or State departments of agriculture in states where hemp is legal to grow hemp for research or agricultural pilot programs. Since hemp has not been grown in the United States since 1957, there is a strong need for research to develop new varieties of hemp that grow well in various states and meet the current market demands.


What is the purpose of Section 7606?

The purpose of Section 7606 The U.S. House passed the hemp amendment to the Farm Bill in order to allow research to begin on industrial hemp and determine whether commercial production of hemp would be beneficial for American farmers and businesses.

What states currently have laws making industrial hemp legal?

CaliforniaColoradoHawaiiIndianaKentuckyMaineMontanaNebraskaNorth DakotaOregonUtahVermontWashington, and West Virginia.

Are there any rules or regulations that I must follow once I am registered and certified by the department of agriculture?

Anyone authorized by the state to conduct research must follow Kentucky regulations AND grow industrial hemp as defined under Section 7606. Varieties of cannabis with more than 0.3% THC on a dry weight basis are not authorized under Section 7606.

I am a Kentucky farmer and I am interested in growing industrial hemp. Does Section 7606 authorize me to grow hemp?

In order to be in compliance, the farmer must be certified by and registered with the Kentucky State Department of Agriculture AND conduct research or a pilot program approved by the KDA. All applicants for the 2015 growing year were due January 1, 2015.

Do I need a DEA license to grow hemp under Section 7606?

If you are registered and certified by the KDA to grow hemp for research purposes under Section 7606, you do not need a DEA license.

Can processed hemp seed, fiber and hurd produced under section 7606 be marketed and sold under Section 7606? 


Section 7606 authorizes “agricultural pilot programs” which “study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp.” Thus, sales and marketing of hemp raw materials is allowed under the research and pilot programs authorized in Section 7606. Kentucky hemp products list coming soon!

Find the 2014 Federal Farm Bill here.



Click here to download text of SEC. 7606. LEGITIMACY OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP RESEARCH of the Conference Report to accompany H.R. 2642. (PDF file 37 KB)

Click here to view the text of Section 7606 – Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research on THOMAS (HTML). Became Public Law No: 113-79.

vote_hemp_logo_url_color For more information on hemp legislation visit

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