The chaos and confusion that has marred Indiana’s initial attempts to legalize CBD have finally subsided in Indiana. On Wednesday, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law that sets clear requirements and standards for the sale of CBD oil. As a result, Indiana has officially legalized CBD oil for Hoosiers who can benefit from it.
Chaos And Confusion Around CBD Oil Comes To An End In Indiana
On paper, Indiana has been a state where CBD (cannabidiol) oil is legal. But over the past several months, police have raided health stores and confiscated untold amounts of CBD products.
For lawmakers, the crackdown on a legal product indicated that Governor Eric Holcomb didn’t seem to have a clear sense that he signed legislation back in April 2017 exempting qualified patients from criminal penalties for using CBD.
Then, in early 2018, Republican state senator Jim Tomes filed a bill he hoped would “just cut to the chase, just get rid of all of this unknown and just make this product legal.”
And indeed, Tomes’ bill, Senate Bill 52, makes it clear that CBD oil is not a controlled substance and that any CBD-based products are completely legal to produce, sell, and possess.
SB 52 swiftly made it through both of Indiana’s legislative chambers. First, on February 28, the bill passed the Indiana House with a unanimous 93-0 vote. Then, on March 15, Senators voted in favor of the bill 36-11.
Finally, on Wednesday, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed SB 52 into law, establishing and finalizing the missing pieces in Indiana’s legal CBD framework. And with that, the governor of Indiana has officially legalized CBD oil for patients in the state.
After Initial Turmoil, Indiana Has Officially Legalized CBD Oil
At the bills signing, Gov. Holcomb praised the work of legislators. “Indiana lawmakers delivered a bill that ensures Hoosiers who benefit from CBD oil can access it,” he said.
The new law takes effect immediately, ending the turmoil that has plagued patient access to safe, legal, CBD medicine.
Importantly, SB 52 filled in the gaps in the similar bill passed last year. The new legislation, signed into law Wednesday, sets strict rules for product packaging and regulations for CBD products.
These missing provisions were what led to a rash of police crackdowns and confiscations of CBD products sold in Indiana.
With firmer, clearer regulations in place, officials assure patients and sellers that the risk of prosecution or asset seizure is over.
Some in Indiana’s nascent medical cannabis industry, however, have criticized the bill as taking things a little too far in the rules and regulations direction.
“Lawmakers overreach when they freak out,” said CBD manufacturing company owner Nathan Renschler. Renschler has issues with the law’s new labeling requirements for CBD requirements.
He says the requirements are stricter than those placed on businesses in other states.
Indiana’s new law specifies that CBD products sold in Indiana must have a special QR code linking to an online document listing ingredients and sources. This requires companies to create special, Indiana-specific labels.
Detractors like Renschler say the labeling requirements put undue pressure on small businesses.
“They don’t have any state regulations on any other vitamin or supplement, but this one gets special regulations and it’s not for any good reason,” he said.
Final Hit: Indiana Has Officially Legalized CBD Oil, But Obstacles Still Remain
Some lawmakers have promised to revisit SB 52 in the next legislative session. They agree that the packaging rules need to be modified.
But they also acknowledged the importance of getting CBD officially legalized in the first place.
“We’re going to have to come back and fix this next year, but we’ve got to at least get it legal,” said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington.
At least the question of what’s legal, and what’s not, is finally settled. And for patients in Indiana who can benefit from CBD oil, that’s what really matters.