Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Rep. Rebecca Raymer's name. The error has been corrected. (March 10, 2023)
FRANKFORT, Ky — While delta-8 and other hemp-derived products are legal to sell in Kentucky, there are no standards for who can buy or produce them. This could soon change with a new bill state lawmakers are considering.
“This is basically going to set up regulations for delta-8,” Rep. Rebecca Raymer (R-Morgantown) said.
House Bill 544 aims to clean up the gray area for selling hemp or similar hemp products. The bill would make it illegal for people under 21 to purchase those products.
They would also have to be displayed in a store away from where a person could reach them, much like cigarettes are now. Raymer says this is to protect children.
The Kentucky Hemp Association backs these added regulations.
“We support this bill. This is a good thing. We’d like to support it openly and help push it through the rest of the process,” Katie Moyer, president of the Kentucky Hemp Association, said.
The bill would also create a process to test products for contaminants and other harmful materials.
“There are bad players in this industry and this process of extracting this higher level of delta-8, if it’s done inappropriately, it can be dangerous. It can leave byproducts behind — pesticides, heavy metals,” Raymer said.
Earlier in the session, Raymer filed a bill that would have outlawed hemp-derived products. Raymer explains why she did this.
“Filing that bill actually brought people to the table, got conversations started. At the end of the day, really what we wanted to do was to keep it out of the hands of the kids,” Raymer said.
In January, an executive order from Gov. Andy Beshear (D-KY) went into effect, calling for the state to regulate products like delta-8. Raymer says her bill goes beyond that order.
“You know the executive order really didn’t spell out what those regulations would look like and we felt like it was very important for the General Assembly to weigh in on what we wanted done,” Raymer said.
If signed into law, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services would be in charge of setting these regulations. The cabinet would have to create the regulations by Aug. 1.