Is CBD oil legal in Pennsylvania?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- Pennsylvania CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in Pennsylvania
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
Yes, cannabidiol (CBD) oil and other CBD products are legal and widely available in Pennsylvania. The state legalized medical marijuana and launched its Industrial Hemp Pilot Program in 2016. In 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3, establishing a medical marijuana program, including a Medical Marijuana Program Fund, a Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, and a research program. It’s one of many states that began writing and rewriting state law following the signing of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which legalized hemp and hemp-derived products on a federal level.
Hemp and hemp-derived products are legal in Pennsylvania and overseen by the state’s Department of Agriculture. Pennsylvania has carefully detailed rules about growing hemp, from seed procurement to crop testing, but on anything other than that, it simply says citizens are responsible for following state and federal laws.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. After tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is the second-most abundant cannabinoid in the plant and has many potential therapeutic benefits, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant properties. CBD can be sourced from both marijuana plants and hemp plants, which are legal in most countries as they contain minuscule amounts of THC.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Combine THC and CBD to fully employ the entourage effect; THC and CBD work hand-in-hand to amplify each others’ effects.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
The 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act categorized all types of cannabis, including hemp, as Schedule I, defined as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction. The act prevented further research that may have shed light on beneficial uses for cannabis.
But this started to change with the passage of the 2014 Hemp Farming Bill, which recognized the difference between hemp, a low-THC, high-CBD type of cannabis, and marijuana. Hemp was defined as having less than .3% THC by weight, while marijuana has more than .3% THC. The Hemp Farming Act of 2018, which was signed by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20, 2019, officially removed hemp from the list of Controlled Substances, though marijuana is still illegal in some states and is still classified as Schedule I, making it illegal at the federal level. CBD derived from marijuana plants is, therefore, still illegal while CBD from hemp is legal but governed by rules that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has yet to disseminate.
The 2018 Hemp Farming Bill also granted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to regulate CBD labeling, therapeutic claims, and use as a food additive. Despite the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA has taken the stance that even hemp-derived CBD may neither be added to food and beverages nor marketed as dietary supplements. While the FDA has begun a process of re-evaluating that stance, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products, leading to further confusion. The FDA has been strict when it comes to health claims and content that could be construed as medical advice about CBD.
While the Farm Bill did legalize hemp, its production, and the sale of any product derived from it, including CBD, it is still highly regulated. The bill also allows some states to make their own rules for CBD cultivation and sale. States may also try to regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and other products instead of waiting for final FDA rules.
The FDA released guidelines in March of 2020 on the regulation of cannabis-derived and hemp-derived CBD products.
Pennsylvania CBD laws
In July 2016, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed House Bill 967, legalizing hemp cultivation and processing, including hemp-derived CBD production. It was one of many states that moved to regulate hemp production as an agricultural commodity in the wake of the 2014 Farm Bill. Later amendments to the state’s agricultural code removed requirements for hemp growers to be part of a university-affiliated research program.
HB 967 set the standard for hemp and marijuana at .3% or less THC, just like the federal statute. It designated the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to oversee all hemp-related matters. PDA has since submitted its hemp cultivation program to the USDA for approval.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Hemp growers must be licensed by the PDA. Licenses are $600 per year for up to five locations, with additional fees for more locations; the state doesn’t limit the number of locations or acreage. Licenses will not be granted to anyone convicted of a drug felony in the 10 years prior to application. Growers who unintentionally violate the law will be given an opportunity to remedy the charges against them. If it happens three times in a five-year period, the grower is banned from producing hemp for five years. Growers who intentionally violate the law will be reported to law enforcement.
Inspectors are permitted to visit farms and choose plants for testing. Plants that have more than .3% THC but less than 1% will be retested and possibly destroyed. THC levels above 1% result in immediate destruction and investigation by law enforcement.
Processors are not required to be licensed unless they are processing hemp or CBD into food products. In that case, the processor must register with the PDA’s Bureau of Food Safety. The only guidance issued by the bureau is that food purveyors must comply with federal law and guidelines from the FDA.
The state’s Department of Agriculture specifies that anyone who processes hemp into food must be licensed as a food establishment, though it deferred to federal legislation, specifically FDA rules, on the subject of CBD intended for human consumption.
Pennsylvania CBD possession limits
There are no limits on possession of hemp-derived CBD products in Pennsylvania. Patients registered with the state’s medical marijuana program are permitted to possess a 30-day supply of medical marijuana.
There are no limits on possession of hemp-derived CBD products in Pennsylvania. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Where to buy CBD in Pennsylvania
Vape and smoke shops in Pennsylvania often sell hemp-derived CBD in a variety of forms. Pharmacies and health food stores may also sell hemp CBD products. CBD derived from cannabis is also available from medical marijuana dispensaries, but only to qualified patients with a doctor’s recommendation.
Shopping online for hemp-derived CBD products is an option since the US Postal Service has confirmed that legal CBD products may be shipped by mail. CBD products can usually be found online at the websites of specific brands. You can find out more about where to buy CBD oil on Weedmaps.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
The FDA currently does not allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn’t reached a final conclusion on regulating hemp-derived CBD products. While the FDA slowly and cautiously approaches making new regulations for CBD products, the gap between regulated products and anything goes grows wider, leaving consumers at risk of buying poor-quality products. When buying CBD products, look for the following on the label:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight or volume.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.
One of the most important things to pay attention to is whether a CBD product is full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
Full-spectrum means that the CBD has been extracted from a hemp plant along with all other cannabinoids and terpenes, including whatever trace amounts of THC the plant may have produced. Consuming full-spectrum CBD may yield better results thanks to the entourage effect, a phenomenon in which the mixture of cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce a more pleasant experience.
Broad-spectrum means that the product contains CBD and terpenes, but has undergone additional processes to strip out any THC.
Finally, isolate is a product that has gone through more intensive processing to remove all compounds except for CBD. Consuming isolate may produce different effects than full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD, as these products do not produce the entourage effect.
Is CBD oil legal in Pennsylvania? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Pennsylvania CBD laws
CBD Oil in Pennsylvania [The Updated Guide]
Pennsylvania joined the growing legion of states that legalized MMJ in 2016. There are many potential benefits of cannabis. However, it does seem that most states legalize it primarily for the enormous tax revenue it brings. In Colorado and California, for example, recreational marijuana is legal. Both states have earned over $1 billion in cannabis tax revenue overall.
The Pennsylvania MMJ program offers protection to qualified/registered patients from state penalties for cannabis use or possession. More importantly, it provides a structured and regulated system that the CBD market lacks.
The cannabidiol industry has a long list of issues. Primarily, the fact that it isn’t federally regulated means there is a free for all at present.
While a handful of states have tried to tidy up the industry, most continue to allow the Wild West nature of the market to prevail. It is unfortunate because it seems as if high-quality CBD has many potential benefits.
There are also a few peculiar issues in individual states where cannabis is legal. One assumes that CBD is also permitted in such locations, but this isn’t always the case. In many instances, it requires a deep dive into obscure laws to understand what is going on. The result is typically widespread confusion, as residents of a state have no idea if CBD oil is legal or not.
Let’s check out the situation relating to CBD oil in Pennsylvania. First, however, here’s a quick overview of its MMJ program.
Marijuana Law in Pennsylvania
In April 2016, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law. It legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. As well as outlining 17 qualifying conditions, it created a state-licensed system for the sale of cannabis to MMJ patients. At first, residents of the state could only purchase non-smokable forms. However, lawmakers lifted that restriction in 2018, though one can only use flower or dry herb in a vaporizer.
Each patient is allowed a 30-day supply as recommended by their doctor. At the time of writing, you are not allowed to grow marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. The state MMJ program proliferated once initiated, and there are now over 70 dispensaries.
It is also worth noting that possession of small amounts of weed is decriminalized in most of the state’s largest cities. This includes Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg.
Updated 2021 guide to CBD oil…
Can You Legally Buy CBD Oil in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania does not have legislation that specifically mentions the use or possession of CBD. Instead, the state passed HB 967 in 2016. It legalized hemp cultivation, processing, and hemp-derived CBD production. Pennsylvania was one of the numerous states that decided to turn hemp production into an agricultural commodity after the 2014 Farm Bill.
According to HB 967, products derived from hemp or marijuana must contain a maximum of 0.3% THC. It designated the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to oversee all issues related to hemp.
There is no limit on the amount of hemp-derived CBD products you can buy and use in Pennsylvania. However, most stores will refuse to sell CBD oil to anyone under the age of 18. A few stores push the age limit to 21, so make sure you bring an ID with you.
You may also notice that a growing number of vape shops, malls, and gas stations in Pennsylvania sell CBD. However, bear in mind that the state doesn’t regulate the industry. As a result, you should only choose CBD oil brands that provide third-party lab reports.
Otherwise, you could purchase products that contain too much THC. Alternatively, you may buy hemp seed products that contain minimal levels of CBD. Also, you can only legally purchase CBD derived from the hemp plant. MMJ cardholders are an exception as they get to use CBD from cannabis too.
Industrial Hemp in Pennsylvania
HB 967 helped establish the Pennsylvanian hemp market. It predated the 2018 Farm Bill and gave the state a head start. However, the program got off to a modest beginning in 2017, with only 14 hemp research permits issued. A total of just 36 acres were cultivated in the state that year.
Thankfully, things started to improve, especially after the latest edition of the Farm Bill made it into law. In 2019, 324 farmers in Pennsylvania planted over 4,000 acres of hemp in 55 counties. One of the changes that facilitated the growth of the industry was the removal of the initial 100-acre cap.
Only farmers licensed by the PDA are allowed to grow hemp in the state. Growers can use up to five locations but must pay $600 for each license. Also, individuals convicted of a drug felony in the ten years before the application are not eligible.
A recent change to the program could spell disaster for farmers sitting on hemp they grew in 2019. Plants with more than 0.3% THC and less than 1% THC are retested. The state government destroys any plants with more than 1% and investigates the farmer(s) involved.
Previously, the PDA only tested for THC. Nowadays, testing includes THCA. Many farmers produce hemp with less than 0.3% THC but over 1% THCA. There are reports of people getting high after smoking hemp flower in Pennsylvania!
CBD Oil in Pennsylvania: Final Thoughts on Laws and Where to Buy
If you live in Pennsylvania, you can purchase CBD from one of the hundreds of sellers in the state or online. Bear in mind that the market remains unregulated at the time of writing. To stay within the law, you must only use CBD oil derived from hemp with a THC content of 0.3% or below. Only MMJ patients with valid cards are allowed to use cannabidiol from the cannabis plant.
The state’s hemp program is beginning to take off, although several farmers may face issues with the new testing protocols. If you are more interested in using marijuana and THC, you will need to apply for an MMJ card. You can find out more in our article on how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania.
Wondering about current laws or where to buy CBD oil in Pennsylvania? We cover all you need to know in this clear, one-stop guide.