KYHA and the Delta-8 Defense

What a year! It’s hard to believe that one year has gone by since we filed our lawsuit to protect the rights of Kentuckians to hemp-derived Delta-8.

We are proud to say that, so far, the lawsuit has been a success. But the fight is far from over and we need your help. Please take a minute to read below and learn about KYHA’s fight to protect Delta-8.   

~ Michael W. Smith,  Atty.

In early 2021, counsel for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (“KDA”) authored a letter to all hemp license holders outlining KDA’s position that Delta-8 is illegal in Kentucky. The Kentucky State Police (“KSP”), in reliance of the letter, raided several businesses that were selling Delta-8 products and charged the owners with numerous crimes including trafficking in marijuana—a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

In response to the unprecedented actions of these state agencies, KYHA filed a lawsuit seeking (1) an injunction to prevent further arrests and adverse actions by the KDA and KSP and (2) a judicial declaration that hemp-derived Delta-8 is legal in Kentucky.

After a long battle defending the action from the KDA and KSP’s attempts to have it dismissed, the Court entered the temporary injunction. The injunction prevents the KDA from taking adverse action against license holders on the basis of Delta-8 and prevents KSP from arresting and charging individuals based on Delta-8. In May 2022, KYHA filed a motion asking the Court to summarily rule in our favor and to declare Delta-8 legal. At the same time, the KDA and KSP again asked the Court to dismiss our lawsuit. The issues have been briefed and we are awaiting an order from the Court.

While the lawsuit was in full-force, KYHA was confronted with another battle in Frankfort.

During the 2022 Legislative Session, Kentucky Senator Paul Hornback sponsored a bill (Senate Bill 170) which would have effectively criminalized all hemp products with an “intoxicating effect.” KYHA fiercely opposed this bill and our board members spent weeks in Frankfort meeting with Kentucky Senators and Kentucky Representatives to stop this bill. The bill eventually passed in the Kentucky Senate, but it never made it out of committee in the Kentucky House of Representatives. While this was a victory for KYHA, we remain vigilant as we expect to see similar legislation in the future.

To curb the expected legislation, KYHA has been working with Kentucky legislators to draft a bill that will satisfy concerns associated with unregulated Delta-8, while at the same time protecting the rights of Kentuckians to Delta-8.

Our fight is far from over and we need your help. Our lawsuit is funded by donations. And while we are grateful for every penny that has been donated, we need more to continue this fight. Please donate what you can—no amount is too small.

If anyone has any questions about our lawsuit or the proposed legislation, please reach out to me or any board member.

On behalf of the Board of Directors: Thank you all.

Michael W. Smith,  Atty.