Pennsylvania Hemp Laws

Although hemp may be a variant of the cannabis plant, it has only trace amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that makes cannabis and marijuana use and consumption illegal by most mandates. Still, hemp is under regulations that have made its cultivation illegal in the United States since the Nixon Administration.

Nonmedicinal Uses of Hemp

Even the United States government acknowledged the potential use of hemp when it permitted 14 states to grow the plant. The objective was to control cultivation and determine if there was commercial viability in hemp. Due to research, studies, and programs, we now know that hemp has more than 25,000 nonmedicinal uses.

Some of the most common nonmedicinal products made from hemp are:

  • Animal feed
  • Clothing material
  • Cordage and ropes
  • Fuel
  • Soil purification products
  • Composite materials

The results of these studies and existence of these products align with what many other countries around the world already know: hemp is not dangerous and has viable commercial purpose.

CBD Extraction & Medicinal Uses of Hemp

The general consensus is that if a substance is not dangerous and can be useful, it should not be strictly outlawed. Hemp, for instance, does seem to have its uses and does not show potential to intoxicate or debilitate its users. Like medical marijuana, the cannabidiols (CBD) in hemp may be reduced and refined for consumption or otherwise medicinally used. All of the illnesses and health conditions that medical marijuana can alleviate, medical hemp can as well. Furthermore, due to the fact that hemp contains only trace amounts of THC, it cannot be used recreationally, making it even more ideal for a wide range of medicinal and nonmedicinal uses.

Important facts about cannabidiol (CBD):

  • CBD originates in the cannabis sativa L. plant.
  • Agricultural hemp looks similar to bamboo and is grown differently than THC-containing cannabis.
  • When pollinated, hemp does not have great potential to produce high-content THC.
  • Agricultural hemp plants are intentionally pollinated by members of their own crop in order to keep THC levels low.

U.S. Drug Policy Regarding Hemp

Currently, hemp is considered a Schedule I controlled substance. Its production is closely regulated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Even Pennsylvania’s pilot program – a plan set forth in theory – will be incredibly restrictive, limiting land use for hemp cultivators to just five acres. Pennsylvania is also the only state to prohibit hemp cannabidiol research and block hemp products from being sold in medical marijuana dispensaries, largely due to fictional reasons that label hemp as an illegal substance.

Pennsylvania’s hemp laws are the most restrictive in the United States. These states all have pilot programs that allow unlimited grows and CBD’s to be researched and produced from hemp within the states:

  • Alabama
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia

In 2016, 15 of these states had hemp pilot programs with research underway.

You can review Regular Session 2015-2016 Senate Bill 50 – also called the Pennsylvania Hemp Bill – by clicking here and visiting the Pennsylvania General Assembly site. You can click here to review House Bill 967 – or the Pennsylvania Hemp House Bill.

Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 & 2015

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 proposed an amendment to Section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act. This amendment would stipulate that industrial hemp would be excluded from the definition of marijuana and allow American farmers to produce and cultivate industrial hemp legally. In addition, this bill removed hemp from the list of controlled substances as long as no more than 0.3% THC was present.

Cannabis and Hemp Law News

"Hemp Oil Hunters: A Project CBD Special Report on Medical Marijuana Inc., HempMeds & Kannaway" - Project CBD

"Update on the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety" - Office of the Attorney General: Washington, D.C. 20530

"VH: 2016 Vote Hemp Update" - Congressional Research Service

"Marijuana Policy: The State and Local Prosecutors' Perspective" - National District Attorneys Association

"Mid-Atlantic States + Overview: Legislation/Markets" - Moriconi Flowers LTD: Attorneys / Consultants

If you would like to know more about hemp law in Pennsylvania – including laws affecting the use, cultivation, dispensation, and production of medicinal and nonmedicinal hemp – do not hesitate to contact our hemp attorneys today. We are ready to help you get started with the advice or representation you need.

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