Is CBD oil legal in Puerto Rico?
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- What is CBD?
- Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
- Puerto Rico CBD laws
- Where to buy CBD in Puerto Rico
- How to read CBD labels and packaging
Medicinal cannabis became legal in Puerto Rico in 2015. The U.S. territory’s legal definition of medicinal cannabis includes cannabidiol (CBD) but excludes industrial hemp. Industrial hemp is cannabis that contains not more than 0.3% THC.
Further, Puerto Rican law uses the term cannabis to refer to medical marijuana, unlike in the U.S. where it is an umbrella term that includes marijuana and hemp.
Act No. 42-2017, which passed in 2017, recognized CBD as one of the two main chemical compounds in cannabis that has a measurable medicinal effect. In 2018, Regulation 9038 established a regulatory framework for the sale, dispensation, and consumption of medicinal cannabis on the island. This regulatory framework provides guidelines for CBD sourced from medicinal cannabis.
More recently, in April 2019, the Department of Health released a memorandum that CBD sourced from industrial hemp must comply with the same quality standards as medicinal cannabis CBD products.
Puerto Rico’s Medicinal Cannabis Office, which forms a part of the Department of Health, is responsible for regulating the island’s medical cannabis program. The adult use of cannabis remains illegal.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is the second-most-abundant cannabinoid found in the plant after THC. CBD offers anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and seizure-suppressant properties. It can be sourced from both marijuana and hemp plants. You can learn more about CBD from Weedmaps Learn.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating substance found in cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
Most CBD is sourced from hemp plants. Even though hemp strains don’t produce enough of the cannabinoid THC to cause intoxication, all cannabis plants, including hemp, were considered illegal under the 1970 Federal Controlled Substances Act. The legislation swept all cannabis into the Schedule 1 category, which defined cannabis as a substance with a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a likelihood for addiction.
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized hemp cultivation and created a pathway to remove some cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal threshold. Hemp is cannabis that contains less than 0.3% THC by weight, and marijuana is cannabis that contains more than 0.3% THC.
To meet federal legal criteria, CBD oil must contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Hemp-derived CBD was thus descheduled by the bill, but CBD that is derived from the marijuana plant is still considered federally illegal because marijuana is categorized as a Schedule 1 substance. While hemp is now considered an agricultural commodity, it still must be produced and sold under regulations that implement the bill. The USDA has yet to create these regulations.
The Farm Bill also allows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate CBD’s labeling, therapeutic claims, and its use as a food additive. Despite the passage of the Farm Bill, the FDA has taken the stance that even hemp-derived CBD may not be added to food and beverages, nor marketed as dietary supplements.
While the FDA has begun a process of re-evaluating its stance on such CBD products, as of late 2019, it has yet to revise its rules or specifically regulate CBD products, leading to further confusion. The FDA has been strict when it comes to health claims and content that could be construed as medical advice about CBD. In July 2019, the FDA sent a letter to manufacturer Curaleaf warning it about making unproven health claims.. In April 2019, the FDA sent similar warning letters to three CBD makers.
The federal legislation still highly regulates the production and sale of hemp and its cannabinoids, including CBD. The Farm Bill also provides that states may also regulate and even prohibit CBD cultivation and commerce. In addition, states may attempt to regulate CBD food, beverage, dietary supplement, and cosmetic products, independently of the FDA finalizing its views on such products.
Puerto Rico CBD laws
Puerto Rico ushered in the legalization of medicinal cannabis in 2015 with the signing of Executive Order OE-2015-035. The order authorized the medicinal use of some or all of the components derived from the cannabis plant, including CBD. According to the 2018 Regulation 9038, the definition of medicinal cannabis includes cannabidiol but excludes industrial hemp.
In 2017, Act No. 42-2017 created a regulatory framework for the sale and use of medicinal cannabis in Puerto Rico. The act recognized CBD as one of the two main chemical compounds in cannabis that has a measurable medical effect and that can treat chronic conditions.
Puerto Rico’s Department of Health (Departamento de Salud) is responsible for regulating the island’s medical cannabis program. Recreational cannabis is illegal. It is also illegal to smoke medicinal cannabis.
Following the inundation of CBD products of questionable quality onto the market, in April 2019 the Department of Health issued a memorandum that required the production and sale of CBD products derived from industrial hemp to comply with regulations regarding quality and testing, as outlined in Regulation 9038.
The definition of industrial hemp, as outlined in Puerto Rican law, is consistent with the definition presented in the 2018 Farm Bill. Industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC by weight.
However, Puerto Rico does not recognize CBD sourced from industrial hemp as medicinal cannabis. CBD sourced from cannabis, however, is recognized as medicinal and is therefore legal. In contrast, federal law recognizes CBD extracted from the cannabis plant as illegal, while CBD sourced from industrial hemp is legal under the 2018 Farm Bill.
Licensing requirements for CBD
CBD is considered a medicinal cannabis product if it is derived from a plant containing more than 0.3% THC, and not from industrial hemp. As such, it is subject to the same licensing regulations outlined in Regulation 9038 as medicinal cannabis products.
As outlined in the April 2019 memorandum, CBD products that are derived from industrial hemp must also provide the same evidence of testing and quality as marijuana-derived CBD.
The following requirements must be observed:
- The concentration of CBD must be stated on the label and should be expressed in milligrams. If there are other cannabinoids present, as in the case of full-spectrum CBD, the cannabinoids present should be expressed as a percentage.
- The product must list the terpene profile, and provide proof of testing for contaminants such as microbial matter, humidity, foreign matter, heavy metals, residual solvents, or chemical residue.
- Licensed dispensaries must hold valid licenses for selling medicinal cannabis products, including CBD products. Dispensaries with expired licenses can be fined.
- Dispensaries selling products that have not been quality checked and tested for contaminants can be fined.
- Sales and licensing violations, such as those listed above, will be fined $5,000 for a minor infraction, and up to $20,000 for a major breach. Repeated infractions receive increasing fines, or the dispensary’s license may be removed.
Puerto Rico CBD possession limits
While there are no possession limits outlined specifically for CBD, there are regulations in place for possession of medicinal cannabis.
Only registered patients suffering from a condition diagnosed by a doctor can access CBD sourced from medicinal cannabis. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Only registered patients suffering from a condition diagnosed by a doctor can access CBD sourced from medicinal cannabis. The patient’s condition must have been listed among the regulatory list of conditions.
Approved patients are limited to 1 ounce, or 28.35 grams, of medicinal cannabis per day.
There are presently no stated limits regarding the possession of CBD products derived from hemp.
Puerto Rico is developing a pharmaceutical industry based on medical cannabis.
Where to buy CBD in Puerto Rico
At present, the sale of medicinal cannabis products, including CBD products, is restricted to the island’s licensed dispensaries where employees may be required to have an academic education about the prescribed products, particularly if they are to hold an occupational license.
However, other Puerto Rican organizations, such as the College of Medical Surgeons, have begun to sell hemp-derived CBD creams, tinctures, and tablets, but the products may not be subject to the same stringent testing as those sold by licensed dispensaries.
CBD products also can be purchased online, where delivery time frames vary widely, from days to weeks.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
Most reputable CBD producers will typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Batch or date code.
- Full spectrum, broad spectrum, or isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil, also known as whole-plant CBD, combines CBD with cannabis-derived terpenes, a trace amount of THC, as well as lesser-known cannabinoids such as cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN). Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a similar array of cannabinoids and terpenes but without the THC. Isolates are made by stripping away all other cannabinoids and terpenes, resulting in a crystalline powder that is pure CBD.
CBD oil and CBD-infused product labels should not make any therapeutic or medical claims. The FDA may classify a product as a drug if the label claims that the product treats or prevents disease, or otherwise affects the structure or any function of the body.
Is CBD oil legal in Puerto Rico? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents What is CBD? Why is CBD sometimes illegal? Puerto Rico CBD laws
Buying US Hemp in Puerto Rico: Puerto Rico Hemp Laws
In addition to the federal hemp laws laid out in the 2018 Farm Bill, each state has its own state hemp laws- this also includes US territories like Puerto Rico. Before we dive in on Puerto Rico Hemp Laws and the legality of CBD in Puerto Rico, it is important to understand the different types of hemp and CBD products that these laws may be applied to.
Is CBD legal in Puerto Rico?
There are many (somewhat confusing) terms for hemp oil:
- Isolate or THC-Free Hemp Oil has only CBD and all other plant compounds have been removed, THC is undetectable. Pure CBD Isolate can also be purchased in powder form.
- Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil has all plant compounds, including less than 0.3% THC.
- Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil has undetectable THC, but contains other plant compounds.
- PCR (Phytocannabinoid-Rich) Hemp Oil with Zero-THC is a new marketing term for broad-spectrum hemp oil.
- CBG Hemp Oil is a hemp oil from a cannabigerol (CBG) rich hemp strain that has more CBG than is found in CBD Hemp Oil.
- Hemp Flower is the dried and harvested flower of the hemp plant. It can be used whole or extracted to make CBD isolate, Full-Spectrum CBD, or Broad-Spectrum CBD (PCR Hemp Oil).
FAQ: Hemp and CBD Legality in Puerto Rico
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When it comes to buying CBD products, hemp flower, and hemp cigarettes here are some frequently asked questions that come up:
Is Full Spectrum CBD Legal in Puerto Rico?
That is a trick question because full-spectrum CBD is not the same as the so-called PCR Hemp Oil! This new marketing term is certainly introducing even more confusion around CBD products.
Not all hemp and CBD products are legal in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico hemp laws explain that hemp flower and final products need to contain less than 0.3% total THC. This is a lower level than “0.3% delta-9-THC.” At first glance, Puerto Rico hemp laws seem to allow 0.3% delta-9-THC, but if you read on, they elaborate that this is total THC, the decarboxylated THCA plus the delta-9-THC.
Acceptable Hemp THC Level: when the application of the measurement of uncertainty to the reported delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol content concentration level on a dray weight basis produces a distribution or rage that includes 0.3% or less. …
A State Plan … shall also include a procedure for the test, using the post-decarboxylation method or other similar reliable methods, of the concentration levels of Hemp delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol produced in the state or territory.
Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Hemp Program
Is It Legal to Ship PCR Hemp Oil to Puerto Rico?
Under Puerto Rico hemp laws it is still a bit unclear if US hemp is legal. Historically, shipping hemp to Puerto Rico has been allowed. However, the Puerto Rico Hemp Plan requires distributors and importers to be licensed with the territory and report their activities and products to the government. This seems to prohibit online retail sales to individuals by US companies.
A License for the Importation and Distribution of Hemp Products for Consumption granted by the OLIC allows for the importation and/or distribution of Hemp derived products for human or animal consumption. This includes Hemp derived products for human or animal consumption containing CBD in any form.
Distributors of Hemp derived products for human and/or animal consumption must comply with the requirements of this license regardless of whether the products to be distributed are imported or locally produced.
Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Hemp Program
Where to Buy Full Spectrum CBD Oil in Puerto Rico?
If you are looking to buy CBD in Puerto Rico, your best option may be to purchase at a licensed local establishment.
Do you need a special license to purchase PCR Hemp Oil in Puerto Rico?
You don’t need a special license to purchase CBD hemp oil (all types) in Puerto Rico, only to grow, test, or sell products.
How Does Puerto Rico Legally Define Hemp?
Hemp: the plant Cannabis sativa L. and all derivatives, extracts, Cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3% on a dry weight basis.
Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Hemp Program
Growing and Selling Hemp in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico hemp laws have been approved by the USDA. These laws establish a hemp cultivation plan and regulations for CBD and hemp in Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is a US territory, these lucky islanders can legally by US hemp as well.
The Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Hemp Program (PRDAHP) oversees and implements Puerto Rico hemp laws. Puerto Rico Hemp Licensing and Inspection Office (OLIC for its Spanish abbreviation) is the body responsible for supervising hemp cultivation and CBD manufacturing and distribution.
Puerto Rico Hemp Testng Requirements
- Hemp that does not meet THC requirements must be destroyed according to DEA regulations as set forth at 21 CFR 1317.15, or other approved methods.
- In addition to the total THC concentration test, the OLIC may request additional testing such as:
Detection of contaminants
Concentration of heavy metals
Presence of herbicides or pesticides
- OLIC reserves the right to re-submit samples taken to a private authorized laboratory to the Agrological Laboratory.
- Laboratories must be licensed by the OLIC, registered with the DEA, and accredited in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.
- OLIC and/or USDA may require in the future that authorized laboratories have ISO 17025 accreditation.
- Laboratories must comply with the requirements described in the USDA-AMS interim final rules at 7 CFR Part 990
Puerto Rico Hemp Licenses
There are many types of hemp licenses required by Puerto Rico hemp laws. These include:
- Seed Distributor License (allows importing, distributing, selling and exporting viable hemp seeds for sowing)
- Manufacturing License (purchasing, processing, creation, sale, and importation of hemp-derived products into Puerto Rico and the exportation of them)
- Laboratory License (for testing labs)
- Hemp Cultivation License (for growing hemp)
Puerto Rico hemp laws have now been approved by the UDSA and will take effect. This requires products to have less than 0.3% total THC.