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 protects 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.
Is CBD Oil Legal in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania 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, hemp or marijuana-derived CBD must contain a maximum THC content of 0.3%. It placed the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) in charge of all issues related to hemp. The PDA set the rules for industrial hemp cultivation that we examine a later. Before we look into the state’s CBD and hemp rules, let’s find out a little more about its MMJ program and penalties for illegal use of marijuana.
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 selling 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.
Initially, the MMJ law allowed patients to get a 30-day supply as recommended by their doctor. However, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1024 into law in July 2021. It increased the limit to a 90-day supply. At the time of writing, you are not allowed to grow marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. In June 2021, the state’s Senate blocked a proposal to permit home cultivation.
Once initiated, the state MMJ program proliferated, and there are now over 110 dispensaries. It is also worth noting that possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalized in most of the state’s largest cities. This includes Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg.
Governor Wolf has a marijuana-friendly stance and is pushing strongly for recreational legalization in Pennsylvania. In September 2021, lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize adult-use marijuana in the state. HB 2050 would also expunge the records of nonviolent drug offenders and advocate for their release from prison. There will be opposition to the bill, so we must wait and see what happens next.
At present, the possession of less than 30 grams remains a misdemeanor in the state. If you’re caught with over that amount, you could spend up to a year in prison. The sale of over 30 grams, or the cultivation of any number of plants, are felonies with potential prison terms of between 30 and 60 months.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy CBD in PA?
There is no limit on the quantity of hemp-derived CBD products you can buy and use in Pennsylvania. However, most stores will refuse to sell CBD oil to anyone under 18. A few stores push the age limit to 21, so make sure you bring an ID.
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.
Lab reports verify that a product doesn’t contain too much THC. They also minimize the risk of purchasing hemp seed products that contain minimal levels of CBD. Also keep in mind that you can only legally purchase CBD derived from the hemp plant. MMJ cardholders are an exception as they also get to use CBD from cannabis.
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 industry’s growth was removing the initial 100-acre cap.
Only farmers licensed by the PDA can 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!
Where to Buy CBD Oil in Pennsylvania?
At the end of this article, we’ve included a list of outstanding CBD brands that sell their wares online. Products purchased online tend to be cheaper than what you’ll find in physical stores. Moreover, you can expect a better variety of products, not to mention updated third-party lab reports.
However, if you would prefer to buy from a local business, here are five highly-rated stores that sell CBD oil in Pennsylvania.
Name of Store
Black Market – CBD & Kratom
2033 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States
GWC Vape Shop
2010 Murray Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217, United States
217 N 2nd St, Harrisburg, PA 17101, United States
Burman’s Health Shop/CBD Oil Store
3409 Edgmont Ave, Brookhaven, PA 19015, United States
2130 E State St, Hermitage, PA 16148, United States
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil in Pennsylvania
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 use CBD oil derived from hemp with a THC content of 0.3% or below. Only MMJ patients with valid cards can use cannabidiol from the marijuana 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 must apply for an MMJ card. You can find out more in our article on how to get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania.