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
2021 Complete Guide
PA CBD 2021
Is CBD in Pennsylvania Legal?
Did you know that, technically, medical marijuana became legal in the state of Pennsylvania before CBD oil did? It’s true. Medical marijuana was legalized in Penn. in April of 2016. And the Industrial Hemp Research Act, which legalized the production of hemp and CBD oil in the state came into effect a few months later in July of 2016.
However, CBD did beat medical marijuana to the market in Pennsylvania. While medical marijuana became available in the state in February of 2018, retail shops in the state have been selling CBD oil since at least 2015. But, up until now, all CBD oil sold in the state was imported from other states where it’s production was already legal.
Technically, however, CBD oil wasn’t federally legal until the end of 2018 when lawmakers in Washington passed the 2018 farm bill. Within the bill was language that divorced hemp from the definition of marijuana making its production and sale legal.
However, in order to become fully compliant with federal hemp laws, the state had to draft new hemp regulations. The new proposed regulations are now in the hands of US Department of Agriculture. They are expected to be finalized in time for the 2021 growing season.
Hemp CBD oil vs cannabis oil in Pennsylvania
Before we go any further down this rabbit hole, let’s take a few paragraphs to fill everyone in on the differences between hemp-derived CBD oil, and the cannabis oils that are only available at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
Both hemp and marijuana are cultivars of cannabis. Up until the farm bill was signed, both were federally illegal. The only thing that separates hemp from marijuana is the level of THC produced by the plant. THC and CBD are both members of a family of compounds known as cannabinoids. While THC is responsible for the high that comes from smoking or eating marijuana, CBD is non-intoxicating.
Cannabis oil and CBD oil are made by extracting the essential oils from the plant’s resinous flower clusters. This oil can be further refined to produce purified CBD. Pure CBD is odorless and colorless and therefore ideal for use in edible products as well as topical creams and cosmetics.
Both THC and CBD have medicinal properties. Although CBD-rich oils produced from marijuana are only available to the state’s medical marijuana patients, anyone in Pennsylvania can purchase CBD oil. However, not all CBD products are technically considered legal.
Learn more: What is CBD oil? Where does it come from?
Learn more: What are the effects and benefits of CBD?
Now that we’ve got some foundational knowledge let’s look at some of the more frequently asked questions related to Pennsylvania hemp CBD laws.
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