Griffen Thorne
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pennsylvania cannabis hemp

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) legalized hemp by removing the crop and its derivatives from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and by providing a detailed framework for the cultivation of hemp. The 2018 Farm Bill gives the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory authority over hemp cultivation at the federal level. In turn, states have the option to maintain primary regulatory authority over the crop cultivated within their borders by submitting a plan to the USDA.

This federal and state interplay has resulted in many legislative and regulatory changes at the state level. Indeed, most states have introduced (and adopted) bills that would authorize the commercial production of hemp within their borders. A smaller but growing number of states also regulate the sale of products derived from hemp.

In light of these legislative changes, we are presenting a 50-state series analyzing how each jurisdiction treats hemp-derived cannabidiol (Hemp CBD). Today we turn to Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) regulates hemp cultivation in Pennsylvania. PDA has an industrial hemp program that requires participants to submit applications and obtain permits to cultivate hemp in the state. There are fairly robust requirements to get a permit unlike in some other states: owners must undergo federal background checks and submit detailed information about their business in order to get permitted. PDA also imposes detailed reporting requirements and requires that cultivators follow strict guidelines when growing hemp.

Notably, Pennsylvania’s hemp production plan was approved by the USDA but has not yet taken effect. When it does take effect, it will impose much more robust rules on hemp cultivators, and will also require processors to obtain licenses. Expect big changes in the future.

When it comes to Hemp CBD products, PDA generally follows the FDA’s position when it comes to Hemp CBD products, and does not allow Hemp CBD to be added to foods. PDA also states, for what it’s worth, that products and product labels must comply with any applicable law, including FDA laws. While PDA has not directly addressed most other Hemp CBD products (such as cosmetics), we can assume that the agency would follow in the FDA’s footsteps given its incorporation of FDA policy relative to foods. Therefore, sellers of products that contain Hemp CBD that do not make medical claims and are not on the FDA’s target list for any other reason might be safer in Pennsylvania.

For additional updates on changes to Pennsylvania hemp laws and Hemp CBD laws, please stay tuned to the Canna Law Blog.  For previous coverage in this series, check out the links below:

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The Canna Law Blog™ is a forum for discussion about the practical aspects of cannabis law and how it impacts those involved in this growing industry. We will provide insight into how canna businesspeople can use the law to their advantage…

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Please be mindful that possessing, using, distributing and selling marijuana are all federal crimes and that this blog is not intended to give you any legal advice, much less lead you to believe that marijuana is legal under federal law.