Will Indiana Finally Legalize CBD Oil?

State Republicans file a bill to make CBD as accessible as aspirin.
Will Indiana Finally Legalize CBD Oil?

In Indianapolis, Republican state senator Jim Tomes has had enough. On paper, Indiana is a state where CBD (cannabidiol) oil is legal. But over the past several months, chaos and confusion have reigned. Police have raided health stores and confiscated untold amounts of CBD products. And Governor Eric Holcomb doesn’t seem to have a clear sense of the legislation he signed back in April exempting qualified patients from criminal penalties for using CBD. Tomes wants to put an end to this mess. And to kick off the new year, he has filed a bill that would make CBD “as easy to obtain as baby aspirins.” So, will Indiana finally legalize CBD Oil?

Will Indiana Finally Legalize CBD Oil?

According to the AP, Republican state senator Jim Tomes filed a piece of legislation aimed at clarifying the legal status of CBD oil in Indiana.

“I want this bill to just cut to the chase, just get rid of all of this unknown and just make this product legal,” Tomes said.

If you’ve been paying attention to CBD-related cannabis policy in Indiana, however, you might be asking yourself: wasn’t CBD already legal there?

The answer is yes. Or at least, it’s supposed to be.

Back in April 2017, Governor Eric Holcomb signed HB 1148. That bill exempts qualified patients using CBD extracts with the authorization of their physician from criminal penalties for cannabis use.

Like other states with limited CBD legalization, cannabidiol extracts can contain no more than 0.3 percent THC by weight. Extracts must also be at least ten percent CBD. And patients who use CBD oils or other extracts have to have a physician authorization.

But HB 1148 neglects to provide any in-state source for CBD. And it doesn’t establish any regulatory framework for distributing CBD products. It’s these gaps in the law that have created the confusion Senator Tomes’ bill aims to correct.

Will Indiana finally legalize CBD oil? Much hinges on the success of  Tomes’ new piece of legislation.

Over the past several months, Indiana State Excise Police have been conducting spot checks on stores selling CBD oil and other products. Excise police are the cops who focus on enforcing the laws of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission.

One Indianapolis TV station’s investigation showed that Indiana excise police had been confiscating CBD products from dozens of stores across the state.

According to that investigation, police conducted the raids and seizures without the knowledge of the governor’s office, the state’s attorney general or other law enforcement divisions.

But these claims contradict the fact that Gov. Eric Holcomb had directed state excise police to conduct checks on stores selling cannabidiol. That directive reportedly came on the heels of a decision by state Attorney General Curtis Hill declaring CBD products illegal.

According to the IndyStar, Holcomb said in a statement that excise police will “perform normal, periodic regulatory spot checks of CBD oil products.” The checks were aimed at making sure CBD oils did not contain more THC than the legal limit.

The plan was to give stores 60 days to either sell or pull CBD items above the legal THC limit from shelves. But it seems excise police did not wait that long to begin confiscating products. In their view, only registered patients should have legal access to CBD. But again, the law provided no official source for CBD products for those patients. Hence, the confusion over the actual legal status of CBD oil in Indiana.

Indiana State Lawmakers Aren’t Backing Down

It’s safe to say that Tomes’ new bill is a legislative clap back against the actions of the governor and the attorney general. With broad support, the bill will likely finally settle the issue of CBD legality in Indiana.

“When we’re done, CBD will be as easy to obtain as baby aspirins,” Tomes said.

Specifically, the legislation makes it crystal clear that CBD oil is not a “controlled substance” and that associated products are totally legal.

Ultimately, Tomes is representing the interests of his constituents, many of whom have reported that CBD oil has significantly improved their medical conditions. CBD oil is also cheaper and safer than many prescription painkillers.

Will Indiana finally legalize CBD oil? There’s a very good chance, thinks Tomes. Passage of the bill would bring an end to the “turmoil” of what’s legal and what’s not.

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