Indiana is well on its way to legalizing CBD products that are already legal.
Earlier this week, the State Legislature approved a piece of legislation aimed at allowing the sale of CBD oil. It is now headed to the desk of Governor Eric Holcomb for final approval.
But there is still a great deal of uncertainly with respect to this issue. Although the bill is intended to alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the state’s stance on CBD, the non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant, the latest effort only stands to keep heads-a-spinning.
Hoosier lawmakers tendered their support for Senate Bill 52 as a way to “fix” a law passed last year designed to give epilepsy patients the freedom to possess CBD oil. Not only did the 2017 law fail to provide patients with an outlet to purchase this medicine, it was written in such a way that left a lot of how the law was executed up to interpretation. But the bill passed this week is supposed to fill in the gaps. Yet there are several questions left unanswered. For example: Does Indiana have a medical marijuana program or did its government just give resident permission to purchase dietary supplements?
Last year, Indiana made national headlines after local law enforcement started swooping into health food stores across the state and seizing CBD products. This was the main event that sparked the debate and development of Senate Bill 52 in the first place.
Now, it is important to understand that the busts that took place last summer did not involve the kind of CBD oil that has risen to infamy throughout the years as a medicine to treat children with epilepsy. These were hemp-based products — oils that are manufactured through a process of pressing hemp seeds. These kinds of oils, pills and creams are commonly found in health food stores all across the United States. They are sold as dietary supplements, not medicine.
Hemp-based CBD, what could soon be “legal” in Indiana, typically contains no more than 3.5 percent CBD (and 0.03 THC) and can be ordered over the Internet by anyone with a credit card without catching heat from law enforcement.
By contrast, the CBD oil used to treat epilepsy patients is made from high CBD strains of the cannabis plant. The finished oil, which registers around 20 percent CBD, is derived from actual flower — not seeds.
What’s more, high grade CBD oil can only be purchased in legal medical marijuana states and only by those patients with a recommendation from a licensed physician.
The two products, while similar, are actually totally different.
But in Indiana, every aspect of its government has confused the two simply because they are both considered CBD.
Senate Bill 52 will basically give manufactures of hemp-based CBD free reign to sell their products over the counter at health food stores, grocery chains, etc. If this bill were designed similarly to other states that have passed CBD-only medical marijuana programs, like Texas, there would be more restrictions. Even in Georgia, which makes it legal only for patients with certain “qualified conditions,” to possess CBD oil — not purchase it — the state still requires they register with the state. Indiana has done nothing of the kind.
If Governor Holcomb signs the bill into law, anyone in the state will have the freedom to purchase this stuff from local retail outlets. Customers will be able to find it near the multivitamins and toothpaste.
The situation is so convoluted, it is difficult to tell whether this bill is a bamboozle, or a cut and dry case of stupidity. Either way, hemp-based CBD oil does not constitute a medical marijuana program. Period.
The only thing that is clear with respect to the latest proposal is manufacturers of CBD oil would be held to tighter labeling restrictions. According to the language, Indiana would require these businesses to apply a QR code to the bottles containing pertinent information about product. This data would include manufacturing details and a guarantee that the oil does not contain more than 0.03 percent THC.
Some believe this labeling deal could limit the number of suppliers who opt to do business with the Hoosier State. That remains to be seen. But some of them are not very happy about the possibility of being put through the extra trouble.
“To have all these companies, including mine, have special labels for Indiana, and in the rest of the country to have a different label, is pretty silly,” Nathan Renschler, owner of a Ft Wayne CBD producer, told the Indianapolis Star. “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.”
If the Governor decides the bill is too a big of a leap for Indiana, and that allowing people to buy hemp-based CBD oil might sabotage the sanctity of the state, never fear. These kinds of CBD products are available for sale online. Amazon will ship them right to your door.
Our only question is when will the medical marijuana program that was supposed made legal last summer finally be put into place? Because this isn’t it.
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