Hemp and all its derivatives (like Delta-8) are legal on a federal scale, but is Delta-8-THC legal in Pennsylvania?
Since every state governs hemp differently, it can be difficult to work out the details of Pennsylvania’s Delta-8 laws.
Luckily, the state has updated legislation to more closely match federal definitions for hemp and hemp products. Delta-8 is legal in Pennsylvania, but here’s what you should know before you buy Delta-8 products in the state:
Disclaimer: We’re always working to stay informed on the latest Delta-8 laws and research. However, state laws are subject to change and we advise that you do your own research to verify the information you find in this article. This is not intended as legal advice.
Table of Contents
Delta-8-THC and Federal Laws
Pennsylvania Delta-8-THC Laws
Is Delta-8 a Controlled Substance in Pennsylvania?
Delta-8-THC Possession Limits in Pennsylvania
Is Delta-9-THC Legal in Pennsylvania?
Where to Buy Delta-8 in Pennsylvania
Do You Have to Be 21 to Buy Delta-8?
Is Delta-8 Legal in All 50 States?
Delta 8's federal status is confusing at first glance. Technically, Delta-8-THC has been listed as a Schedule I substance alongside Delta-9-THC for well over a decade.
More recently, however, the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 was signed into law. Under this legislation, hemp containing less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC became legal, as did any cannabinoids, extracts, or isomers derived from the legal hemp material.
In fact, Section 12619b of the 2018 Hemp Farming Act specifically addresses tetrahydrocannabinols in hemp. By extension of this new law, Delta-8-THC was legal, or so it seemed.
Here's the catch:
Most of the legal Delta-8 products on the market are made by "synthesizing" CBD. While federal hemp legislation currently allows the production and sale of naturally derived cannabinoids, it specifically prohibits all synthesized cannabinoids.
So where does this put Delta-8-THC, considering it is both a naturally occurring cannabinoid and can be synthesized from legal CBD?
To understand, you need to take a look at the method used to turn CBD into Delta 8, which is vastly different from the complex process that is generally used to create synthetic cannabinoids.
The conversion process between CBD and Delta 8 relies on a transfer of isomers, a process called isomerization, between the two cannabinoids. This means that Delta-8-THC technically exists as a hemp "isomer," which is covered by hemp's legal definition according to the 2018 law.
In other words, Delta-8 is made from hemp and considered to be a naturally occurring part of the hemp plant.
The types of cannabinoids that the DEA typically carve out as “synthetic” are liquid agents that are frequently applied to plant material, like K2 and Spice. Legal forms of synthetic cannabinoids, such as Marinol, also exist as prescription pharmaceuticals. Unlike Delta-8-THC, these substances are purely synthetic and made in a lab without the use of plant material.
Of course, laws regarding cannabinoids are still subject to change as hemp regulations are ironed out by both the DEA and FDA. For now, Delta 8 maintains a federally legal status, but state laws still may pose limitations on Delta-8-THC access.
After the 2018 Farm Bill became law, Pennsylvania passed amendments to the state’s hemp laws to better align the state with federal definitions. In Pennsylvania, hemp is legal and is defined as any part of the cannabis plant that contains less than 0.3% Delta-9-THC on a dry weight basis.
Hemp products are also legal, and may include any part of the hemp plant, including cannabinoids, extracts, isolates, and other derivatives.
Pennsylvania also passed amendments to the state’s Controlled Substances Act. The new laws clarify hemp as an exception to “marijuana” where it is listed as a Schedule I substance. Thanks to these updates, Delta-8-THC is legal in Pennsylvania.
Here are some snippets from the relevant state laws:
Section 2. Definitions.
“Industrial hemp.” A plant of the genus cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.
“Product.” A finished product containing industrial hemp which:
(1) Is a cosmetic, food, food additive or herb.1234567891011121314151617
(2) Is for human use or consumption.
(3) Contains any part of the hemp plant, including naturally occurring cannabinoids, compounds, concentrates, extracts, isolates, resins or derivatives.
(4) Contains a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3%.Section 3. Manufacturing of food products. Each manufacturer of food containing industrial hemp must comply with the following:
Section 802-A. Definitions.
“Cannabis.” The plant of the genus cannabis whether growing or not, the parts and seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin, including cannabis concentrate. The term does not include industrial hemp or fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination or the weight of another ingredient combined with cannabis to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink or other product.
Section 1.The definition of “marihuana” in section 2(b) of the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L.233, No.64), known as The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act, is amended to read:
Section 2. Definitions.
“Marihuana” [consists of all forms, species and/or varieties of the genus Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin;
but shall not include tetrahydrocannabinols, the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.] means all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. The term does not include:
(1) industrial hemp, as defined in 3 Pa.C.S. § 702 (relating to definitions); or
Title 3 § 702. Definitions. “Industrial hemp.” The plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.
(2) the mature stalks of an industrial hemp plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks, except the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of germination.
Pennsylvania state law lists “marijuana” as a Controlled Substance, but the text has been amended to read that “the term does not include...industrial hemp, as defined in 3 Pa.C.S. § 702 (relating to definitions).”
The state defines industrial hemp as “a plant of the genus cannabis and any part of the plant, whether growing or not, containing a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry-weight basis.”
That means that Delta-8-THC is not considered a Controlled Substance in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania hemp laws do not define any possession limits for hemp or hemp products, including Delta-8-THC.
Still, Delta-8 could be easily confused for Delta-9 THC by authorities without proper documentation and lab testing.
Basic lab testing checks only for tetrahydrocannabinol, meaning that extensive lab tests are needed to differentiate between Delta-8 content and Delta-9 content when proof of legal possession is needed.
Pennsylvania passed the Medical Marijuana Act in 2016, which legalized medical cannabis for qualifying patients. Recreational cannabis is still illegal in the state, and possession of up to 30 grams is punishable by a misdemeanor, up to 30 days in prison, and/or a fine of up to $500.
Pennsylvania does not strictly regulate hemp production or sales, and many nearby states (like Ohio, West Virginia, and New York) also allow Delta-8 manufacturing. Legal hemp products, including Delta-8, may be available in stores in the local area.
Still, it’s advisable to proceed with caution when choosing a Delta-8 distributor. While you can likely find various hemp products in local stores, there may be benefits to buying Delta-8 online. One reason is that you can buy directly from a brand or manufacturer, instead of purchasing through a third-party vendor that may not fully understand Delta-8 effects and uses or the laws surrounding Delta-8 products.
At Bloom Society, our Delta-8-THC products comply with all parameters of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018. We can also help answer questions about Delta-8 before you buy, or you can read our “What is Delta-8-THC?” guide to learn everything you need to know.
There are no state regulations that place age restriction on the purchase of hemp-derived products. Retailers have the right to determine age limits for the purchase of Delta-8 products, but many retailers require consumers to be at least 21 years of age.
Delta-8-THC is currently federally legal under the context of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, but each state has the right to determine their own stance on tetrahydrocannabinols derived from hemp. Delta-8-THC is legal in Pennsylvania according to state law, but you should read more about Delta-8 laws by state to determine the legality in other areas.
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