Hemp which contains very low amounts of THC, by law, is the non-psychotropic version of cannabis with superfood status.  The US Department of Health and Human Services in 2003 wrote patents about some of the cannabinoid molecules found in hemp as “antioxidants and neuroprotectants.”  

Whole Hemp oils high in cannabinoids such as CBD, have increased in popularity recently due to evidence of the miraculous medical impact it can have on its users.  Now, millions realize that these neuroprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory benefits extend to a variety of health applications, including neurological issues like mild anxiety, pain from exercise-induced inflammation, and other significant issues.

Many Americans are confused over the legality of hemp because hemp is not available for general farming like corn or soybeans. Up until 2014, the only way to get hemp legally in the US was to import it from another country. This law made America the largest importer of hemp products in the world, with most coming from China, Canada and Europe.

There are only three ways to legally acquire CBD in the US.  


It is currently legal to import CBD processed from hemp stalks and seeds, in concord with a 2004 9th Circuit court decision. Imported CBD extracted from the hemp flower is not in compliance with current importation under this decision; these imports are subject to seizure.

Get It From a State with a Recreational or Medical Marijuana Program

CBD extracted from cannabis can be acquired in a state with a legal MMJ program. This CBD cannot move across state lines; as a controlled substance, it is limited to serving only those residing in that state.

Domestic Hemp Programs

The best way to acquire CBD in the US is from a legal hemp program in a state that is fully compliant with Federal Farm Bill section 7606. The State of Kentucky has the best legislative and regulatory pathway to empower hemp businesses to grow, cultivate, process and market hemp and hemp-derived CBD. Kentucky Department of Agriculture clearly articulates that the hemp flower is to be processed as an agricultural commodity, food.

How Hemp Products are Legal

The Agricultural Act of 2014 changed the legal status of hemp in the US, section 7606 conveyed to state Department of Agricultures, and institutions of higher learning the ability to grow, cultivate, process and market hemp so long as research projects were conducted in accordance with corresponding state and federal laws.

The Agricultural Act of 2014 allowed a small group of people to access American grown hemp, but it wasn’t until a Statement of Principles issued in August 2016 by the USDA (also co-signed by DOJ/DEA and HHS/FDA), that federal agencies had a legal basis for the broad federal acceptance of hemp.   Further, recent clarification has removed most of the legal questions about the movement of hemp and hemp-derived products over state and international lines.

Kentucky has been a leader in hemp reform, stemming from its long history as the dominant American supplier of hemp products. Kentucky has ensured that Kentucky’s farmers and processors are at the vanguard of this re-emerging agricultural commodity.  

Legality Timeline of Products


  • All cannabis, including hemp, is not federally approved, regulated or lawful except under DEA license as a Schedule 1 drug agricultural commodity — food.
  • Hemp imports, of material sourced from stalk and seed only, increased materially since a 2004 9th Circuit ruling where HIA won the right to import hemp products, expressly omitting the inclusion of the hemp flower.


  • US Farm Bill (Section 7606) creates a federal structure for state-level industrial hemp pilot programs engaging in growth, cultivation and marketing.  Corresponding State legislation, and regulatory structure, provides a federally legal architecture for low THC hemp production.


  • The Ag Appropriations Bill contains an Amendment allowing for movement of hemp plant matter, including seeds, across state lines.
  • Congress signs the Omnibus Act which further protects the GenCanna program by preventing federal monies from being spent to “prohibit the transportation, processing, sale or use of industrial hemp that is grown or cultivated in accordance with” Section 7606 of the US Farm Bill.


  • USDA, in conjunction with co-signers from DEA/DOJ and FDA/HSS, issues Statement of Principles, signifying federal acceptance of hemp
  • NIFA, part of the USDA, announces that it will accept hemp-related projects for funding grants
  • Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) clarifies its support of hemp, hemp-derived CBD and the agricultural development for its farmers and processors
  • Various others, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell provide further written support for hemp as an agricultural commodity
  • KDA issues its 2017 Policy Guide, the nascent hemp industry’s most significant regulatory guide


  • Kentucky quietly passes SB 218, clarifying the role of KDA in relation to Kentucky’s hemp regulation
  • 2017 Omnibus Spending Bill passes, including previous hemp language and clearly articulating state/international line transportation.
  • Expectations of the introduction of The Hemp Farming Act of 2017 are high