Is CBD Legal in Pennsylvania

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.


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.

Credit: Harris Bricken | Canna Law Blog


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