Indiana Gives Mixed Messages on CBD

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Indianapolis, IN — According to IndyStar, Indiana Attorney General (AG) Curtis Hill declared that cannabidiol (CBD) oil is illegal to sell or own in the state, following a great a deal of confusion about CBD’s legal status that included raids of grocery stores and the arrest of a man with CBD oil in his car, as well as a bill signed by Gov. Eric Holcolm that created a registry for epileptic patients who choose to use CBD oil to combat seizures.

Explaining his reasoning Hill wrote in his advisory opinion, “Simply put, cannabidiol is a schedule 1 controlled substance because marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance. Although it is a relatively new phenomenon, after thoroughly tracking the language of the Indiana law defining ‘marijuana’ it is evident that cannabidiol is now and historically has been derived from ‘a part of the plant genus cannabis.’”

He also wrote that according scientific research, CBD cannot be produced in sufficient amounts from the inert mature stocks and sterilized seeds of the plant which are exempt from Schedule I classification, meaning that therefore the manufacture of CBD products will necessary include the “floral bracts, resin and leaves of the Cannabis plant.”

It is important to note however, that the AG’s opinion does not constitute law. This means that the state government needs determine where they stand with regard to CBD. A week after the statement from AG Hill, Governor Holcolm directed state excise police to resume checking store shelves for CBD products, giving them 60 days “to educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers so there is a reasonable period of time for them to remove products that contain THC.”

The governors directive has created some confusion about whether or not this gave a time limit on the criminalization of CBD products. The governor says no. When asked later on whether CBD is legal and will citizens be able to purchase CBD products in stores, he stated, “Yes,” Governor Holcomb said, “and they will continue to be able to.” He clarified the the 60 days as time a time of education and “making sure that people know who would be buying or selling that CBD oil is legal in the state of Indiana with no THC content and will continue to be.”

While the governor has put a priority on products that contain THC, the psychoactive component of Cannabis, in an effort to differentiate between products derived from hemp and those derived from marijuana, this demonstrates a lack of understanding of CBD products because hemp-derived oils will contain minuscule amounts of THC that produce no mind altering effects. Lawmakers need to clarify what they define as “no THC,” because zero is not a feasible standard.

*This article has been updated as of 12/12/2017 2:46 PM

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