In spite of the fact that Indiana recently passed a law legalizing CBD oil for specific patients, the state’s law enforcement goons have been on a wild-eyed mission for months to take down stores that carry the product. But the federal agency responsible for doing all of Uncle Sam’s wet work when it comes to busting people for drug-related offenses is of the opinion that if it isn’t worried about Hoosiers and their CBD possession, then neither should state police. Yes, that’s right: the DEA says it won’t arrest CBD oil users, and neither should local law enforcement.
“They are not a priority for us… it would not be an appropriate use of federal resources to go after a mother because her child has epileptic seizures and has found something that can help and has helped,” Rusty Payne, a spokesperson with the DEA, told news channel WTHR.
The Big CBD Confusion
It was revealed over the summer that excise officers with the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission were conducting raids on grocery stores and other businesses stocking CBD oil. This product, a non-intoxicating derivative of the cannabis plant known as cannabidiol, has been shown to have significant health benefits for people suffering from a wide range of health issues, including cancer and some forms of epilepsy.
In fact, it is for this reason that the Indiana legislature dipped its toe in the water of the marijuana reform movement in April 2017 by approving a measure that gives patients suffering from seizure disorders access to this alternative treatment.
Governor Eric Holcomb even went as far as to say that he felt confident in the signing of the CBD legislation because it “does not put us on a slippery slope to legalizing marijuana.”
In June, it was reported that Indiana State Excise Police had been on a prohibition-fueled rampage throughout the Indianapolis-area, based on the agency’s opinion that CBD products were still very much illegal. All of these unwarranted shakedowns, however, created a lot of noise in the media, which eventually prompted Governor Holcomb’s office to order police to stop kicking down the doors of businesses over CBD products until a clarification of the law could be made by the state’s attorney general.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who wrote a letter over the summer expressing his disdain for marijuana legalization, determined back in August that the possession of CBD oil is no longer a crime. What’s more is he cleared these products for area commerce.
“Commercial products manufactured from industrial hemp are lawful to possess and sell in Indiana,” Curtis wrote in a memo to Indiana State Police. “A short list of these products may include, but are not limited to, hemp rope, hemp hand lotions, CBD oil, hemp shoes and other clothing articles manufactured from industrial hemp. Keep this information in mind in the event you encounter such products in the course of your duties, and remember these products are lawful to purchase and possess.”
Good news, right? Well, not exactly.
It seems that some of the state’s law enforcement officials have decided to go against the grain of the law by going ahead and arresting people they find in possession of CBD oil.
Reports show that some local cops are identifying this medicine as illegal contraband by using the same marijuana test kits they use to charge people for pot possession.
Why The DEA Says It Won’t Arrest CBD Oil Users
DEA officials argue that Indiana’s police forces are taking the matter more seriously than needed.
Payne said while the marijuana derivative is still illegal under the DEA’s Controlled Substances Act, “he cannot blame parents” for taking some risks to get this medicine for their sick children.
“I’d do the same exact thing—without hesitation,” he said. “I cannot blame these people for what they’re doing. Are they breaking the law? Yes, they are. Are we going to break her door down? Absolutely not. And I don’t think she’ll be charged by any U.S. attorney.”
The agency spokesman says that the drug agents could be stomping on the necks of those stores carrying CBD products, but with the current state of affairs with the opioid crisis, the DEA doesn’t really give two flying squirts about cannabidiol—and neither should Indiana police.
“We are in the middle of an opioid crisis in this country. That’s our biggest priority right now,” Payne said. “People are not dying from CBD. Some would argue lives are being saved by CBD. Are we going to get in the middle of that? Probably not.”
The DEA spokesman told the news source that he believes Indiana law enforcement should do “the same thing we’re doing and that’s prioritize what is truly the biggest issue affecting public safety right now.”
“That would be the opioid epidemic,” he said. “That has to be our priority right now. Not CBD.”
Perhaps the confusion surrounding Indiana’s CBD law will become clearer once the state finally unveils its patient registry early next year. A report from Indiana Public Media indicates this aspect of the law should be in place by February.
Technically, once the registry is put into place, patients will need a recommendation from their doctors in order to obtain this medicine through a pharmacy. Yet it remains to be seen just how the state’s medicinal CBD law will conflict with the product being sold without a prescription in many health food stores throughout the state.
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