Pennsylvania isn’t the most progressive state when it comes to Cannabis sativa, but it also isn’t the most conservative. As a result, Pennsylvania’s CBD oil laws are about average compared to the hemp regulations that apply throughout the rest of the country, and there’s lots of room for improvement in the ways that Pennsylvania views CBD. In this guide, get up to date with the latest developments in CBD law, and learn whether smoking CBD or using this cannabinoid any other way is legal in Pennsylvania.
Overview of federal CBD law as it applies to Pennsylvania
The 2018 Farm Bill was the most recent piece of federal legislation to have a major impact on the hemp industry throughout the United States. By removing CBD from the DEA’s definition of marijuana, this bill left the door open for states like Pennsylvania to pass comprehensive hemp reform packages.
In general, the 2018 Farm Bill took the conversation surrounding hemp use in the United States a few steps forward, and it helped Americans view hemp and CBD as things that are separate from marijuana and this drug’s addictive, intoxicating effects. All around the country, states are taking steps to bring their local hemp economies out of the “gray” market and into the mainstream, and hemp is becoming accepted as a natural medicine that’s fundamentally different from marijuana.
Pennsylvania cannabis law
The way a state views THC almost always affects its stance on CBD. In 2016, SB 3 was signed into law, which legalized marijuana in Pennsylvania for medical purposes and defined 17 qualifying conditions. This bill also created a state market for medical marijuana including a network of state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensaries.
When SB 3 was passed into law, this bill only allowed the sale of non-smokable marijuana products. In 2018, however, this rule was rescinded, and medical marijuana patients can now access THC-rich cannabis flower in Pennsylvania. This means that smoking Cannabis sativa flower isn’t always viewed as an illegal act in this state, which might spare non-intoxicating hemp smokers from undue law enforcement scrutiny.
Medical marijuana patients in Pennsylvania are allowed to possess a 30-day supply of cannabis as defined by their medical providers. In most of Pennsylvania’s major cities, possessing small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized even if you aren’t a medical marijuana patient, further reducing the likelihood of CBD flower causing a misunderstanding in metro areas like Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.
CBD oil law in Pennsylvania
At this time, there are no laws in Pennsylvania that specifically mention the possession of CBD oil or any other CBD-rich products. As a result, the issue of CBD possession in Pennsylvania reverts to federal law, which, as per the 2018 Farm Bill, designates that CBD is not marijuana and that it is not an illegal drug.
Despite the fact that Pennsylvania does not have any laws that specifically pertain to CBD possession, this state does have an established legal position on hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill made it legal to cultivate hemp in the United States as long as it contained less than 0.3% THC, and Pennsylvania was one of the states that took this federal legislation as the green light to establish a state hemp agriculture program.
In Pennsylvania, it is legal to produce hemp containing high concentrations of CBD as long as hemp agriculture operations comply with the state’s strict regulatory standards. Pennsylvania is now one of the most notable hemp-producing states in the country, which makes it hard for Pennsylvania law enforcement to take a hard-nosed stance on possession of CBD products.
In the future, Pennsylvania may decide to follow in the footsteps of Texas, Kansas, Florida, and many other states by passing legislation that specifically allows the sale and possession of CBD-rich products within its borders. Since Pennsylvania does not have any laws that specifically prohibit the sale or possession of CBD products, however, such legislation may be viewed as unnecessary.
Pennsylvania CBD flower laws
No states that either implicitly or explicitly allow CBD commerce within their borders have laws that specifically pertain to the possession or sale of CBD flower. This lack of legislation regarding CBD-rich hemp flower can partially be attributed to the relative newness of this product category. At the time that most states were passing their CBD and medical marijuana laws, the CBD flower industry was practically nonexistent, and the most common types of CBD products on the market were tinctures.
There is no difference between CBD flower and other CBD products from a legal point of view. As long as CBD flower contains less than 0.3% THC, it is considered to be hemp, and as a result, hemp-specific or CBD-specific laws apply to products in this category.
From a public relations perspective, however, CBD flower is uniquely unlike any other CBD product category on the market. That’s because, for all intents and purposes, CBD flower looks and smells identical to marijiuana flower. CBD-rich hemp flower and THC-rich marijuana contain different dominant compounds, but this dissimilarity can only be demonstrated with lab testing. Of course, CBD flower and marijuana also produce entirely different effects when smoked or vaporized, but law enforcement officers are unlikely to take a puff of Cannabis sativa flower they’re inspecting to see if it gets them high or not.
Despite the official legality of CBD flower, it’s always easier to use CBD products in this category in states that have relatively lax positions toward Cannabis sativa in general. Due to the rapidly increasing popularity of CBD-rich hemp flower, law enforcement agencies across the country are finding it practically impossible to prosecute marijuana possession charges, so the likelihood that you’ll be unjustly arrested for possessing marijuana if you use CBD flower is the lowest it’s ever been.
Regardless, it’s encouraging to know that medical marijuana in Pennsylvania has changed this state’s stance toward cannabis. If you live in one of Pennsylvania’s major cities, even possessing THC-rich marijuana isn’t a criminal act.
Pennsylvania industrial hemp law
The Pennsylvania hemp industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. In time, Pennsylvania may veer toward CBD self-sufficiency as its hemp farmers produce enough CBD to satisfy this state’s nearly 13 million residents. At present, however, Pennsylvania industrial hemp production remains limited due to this state’s constantly shifting regulatory framework.
Using the 2014 Farm Bill as its guide, Pennsylvania enacted HB 967 in 2017, which permitted farmers in this state to grow hemp for research purposes. During this legislation’s inaugural year, however, only 36 acres of hemp were cultivated, resulting in a negligible harvest.
Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp cultivation in Pennsylvania picked up considerable steam. Over 4,000 acres of Pennsylvanian hemp were harvested in 2019, and 324 hemp farmers were granted cultivation licenses. This Pennsylvania hemp boom can partially be attributed to the removal of a prior regulation stipulating that farmers in this state could only cultivate 100 acres of hemp each.
The blossoming Pennsylvania industrial hemp economy isn’t without its share of setbacks, however. The original architects of this state’s industrial hemp legislation failed to account for the fact that THCa, the acid form of THC, transforms into true THC when it is heated. As a result, Pennsylvania only required that industrial hemp contain less than 0.3% THC, not 0.3% THC combined with THCa.
Now, Pennsylvania farmers who previously cultivated strains of industrial hemp containing high concentrations of THCa are being forced to switch to other cultivars if they don’t want state agents to destroy their crops. The Pennsylvania hemp market may need to face a variety of such challenges before it’s ready for true self-sufficiency.
The future of Pennsylvania CBD law
A prominent Pennsylvania lawmaker recently proposed legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana for adults over 21. Recreational marijuana is rapidly becoming the norm across the nation, so it wouldn’t be surprising if Pennsylvania became the latest state to jump on the bandwagon.
Legalizing marijuana in Pennsylvania wouldn’t necessarily lend clarity to this state’s stance on CBD, however. Based on the example of California, legalizing recreational marijuana could muddy the status of CBD in Pennsylvania even further. CBD is proving to be a tricky legislative topic even for states with the most ardently pro-cannabis policies.
If Pennsylvania lawmakers truly want their fledgling CBD industry to thrive, they should pass legislation that specifically legitimizes CBD commerce. States that have adopted these types of laws have seen sharp spikes in CBD usage, and doing so could provide a vital outlet for Pennsylvania-based hemp growers and CBD producers.
There’s only so much that individual states can do, however, to help their state-specific hemp industries blossom. What’s needed is further clarity on the federal level regarding the status of CBD and its relation to THC.
Will future federal regulation affect CBD law in Pennsylvania?
While the 2018 Farm Bill made it clear that CBD is no longer considered to be a scheduled drug, this piece of legislation didn’t provide any specific information on how CBD should be sold and regulated across the United States. Generally, such decisions aren’t under the purview of Congress, which exists to pass legislative proposals into law. It’s the job of executive branch agencies like the FDA and DEA to provide specific guidance on how substances like CBD should be handled in the marketplace.
So far, the FDA has declined to specify its position on CBD. While this agency has sent several warning letters to CBD producers that made medical claims or committed other obvious errors, the FDA hasn’t declared CBD to be a supplement, an over-the-counter drug, or a prescription drug that must be approved on a drug-by-drug basis.
Until the FDA provides clarity on its stance toward CBD, it’s unlikely that states like Pennsylvania will take any drastic actions to change their hemp and CBD policies. There’s simply too much risk that laws passed at the state level may come into conflict with guidance the FDA releases at a later date. Due to the current federal focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unlikely that we’ll see any major movement on the federal CBD policy front during the remainder of 2020.
Where to buy CBD oil in Pennsylvania
Currently, CBD products are widely available in many retail outlets across the state of Pennsylvania. Ever since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, gas stations, convenience stores, and natural food stores have felt emboldened to offer CBD products on their shelves, and some retailers in Pennsylvania now even offer CBD flower products.
Despite the fact that CBD is offered in many Pennsylvania stores, you might want to buy CBD flower and other CBD products online instead. When you buy CBD online, you gain access to customer reviews, lab reports, and other information that you can use to make educated buying decisions. Retail stores that offer CBD generally don’t provide much information on their products.
When you buy CBD online, you also gain access to a much wider range of product offerings than you’d be able to find in a retail store. Most online CBD retailers ship their products to all 50 states—including Pennsylvania. To learn more about CBD, visit the Secret Nature blog, and please drop us a line if you have any questions.