CBD flower in Pennsylvania followed the 2018 Farm Bill which legalized hemp on a federal basis. Hemp is no longer under the federal Controlled Substance Act. As in all states, each farmer who wants to grow hemp must register with a pre-determined state organization for inspection and testing purposes.
CBD Flower in Pennsylvania – Hemp is Different than Marijuana
Pennsylvania does have a medical marijuana program, but it is, of course, different than Pennsylvania’s hemp program. The two programs are separate and authorized by different Acts and Departments. To be legal, hemp has to contain 0.3% THC or less. All hemp growers and processors must have a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
CBD Flower in Pennsylvania— Acres Planted and Permit Holders
There were 324 permit holders who planted and grew approximately 4,000 acres of hemp in 2019. This was the third year that hemp had been grown in Pennsylvania after having been banned for almost 80 years. PDA has a permit application fee along with other fees such as ones in relation to official sampling and THC testing.
If you live in Pennsylvania, you can fill out the Pennsylvania Hemp Permit Application found on the PDA website at agriculture.pa.gov/hemp. The deadline for application submission is April 1 of whatever year you are wanting to plant your hemp crop. There are no limits to the number of permits to grow hemp and no limit to the number of acres which the hemp farmer wants to plant.
CBD Flower in Pennsylvania – Permit Applications and Licenses
The application must meet certain criteria in order to be approved. There is no limit to the size of plantings, however, for each deeded property, the hemp farmer will need a separate permit. The cost of the permit was lowered in 2020 to $150.
The permit applications must be filled out each year by April 1 as there are changes year by year. Permits expire on December 31st of each year; however, the 2020 application form was extended through February 2020. And as stated before, if you have multiple properties on which you will plant hemp, it is necessary to have a separate application or permit.
The requirements for the licenses and permits in Pennsylvania to change perhaps even yearly. In 2020, what was new was that processors also need to have a hemp permit from the PDA. The producers of hemp food products would need to be registered as a Food Establishment with PDA’s Bureau of Food Safety as well.
For those who are selling hemp seed to the cultivators, they will also need a seed distributor and plant merchant licenses. Hemp seed may also be obtained from other countries or from other states and Pennsylvania seed dealers. The grower is responsible for obtaining seed for himself as the PDA is not involved in that process.
CBD Flower in Pennsylvania – Restrictions of it All
There are some restrictions for the hemp farmer in regard to the land area used. If the hemp farmer is growing hemp outdoors, he or she must grow at least a ¼ acre and 300 plants. For indoor production, the requirements are different. In an area of 2000 square feet, 200 plants can be grown there.
PDA has also made requirements as to some geographic exclusions including a specific distance from school zones, public recreation areas, or residential dwellings. PDA also restricts intercropping practices which is probably a good idea so there is no inter-crop pollination.
CBD Flower in Pennsylvania – Testing Protocols
PDA requires that hemp growers need to test for THC within 15 days prior to harvest of a matured hemp flower. In the case that the crop cannot be harvested in the 15-day period, the crop must be retested. The testing for THC percentage must be conducted by a PDA approved individual.
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