The legal status of hemp in the United States was changed by The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill). The ability to grow, cultivate, process, and market hemp to state Departments of Agriculture and institutions of higher learning as long as research projects in accordance with state and federal law were conducted was conveyed by Section 7606 of that act. Hemp must be industrial to be federally legal, and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) is the authority on whether or not something is true industrial hemp.
Although passage of The Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) opened a small window allowing Americans access to industrial hemp, it wasn't until the August 2016 issuance of a Statement of Principles by the USDA (co-signed by the DOJ/DEA and HHS/FDA) that federal agencies had a legal basis for the broad acceptance of industrial hemp. Recent clarifications have addressed and removed most of the legal questions regarding the movement of industrial hemp and hemp-derived products over state and/or international lines.
Kentucky's leadership in hemp reform, stemming from its long history as the dominant American supplier of industrial hemp products, has ensured that its farmers and processors are in the forefront as this agricultural commodity re-emerges. In a jurisdiction as famous for its farmers and hemp as it is for its Thoroughbreds, Kentucky-grown industrial hemp enjoys the clarity of rules designed to regulate the agricultural production of this re-purposed crop.