420 Magazine Background

IN: CBD Oil Is Illegal, Says Attorney General Curtis Hill After Months Of Confusion

Ron Strider

Well-Known Member
After months of confusion over the legal status of cannabidiol oil, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill deemed it illegal in almost every circumstance.

In April, conflicting views among state agencies on CBD oil laws emerged after Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a bill creating a registry for epileptic patients who want to ease their seizures by using CBD oil, a cannabis extract.

Hill on Tuesday said that is the only condition under which using CBD oil is legal in the state. However, it is unclear how those patients would obtain the oil since it would be illegal to sell it in the state, under Hill's interpretation.

"Simply put, cannabidiol is a schedule 1 controlled substance because marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance," Hill said in his written advisory opinion. "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 added that at a federal level, the product is illegal as well if it's for human consumption. Only state departments of agriculture and higher education institutes can grow the product under the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill.

If state lawmakers want current law changed, they'll have to pass new legislation next session.

Confusion over current law emerged almost immediately after Holcomb took action to create the CBD oil registry for epilepsy patients.

Indiana State Excise Police quickly confiscated the product from nearly 60 stores, arguing the law only allowed those on the registry to have CBD.

That, however, seemed to contradict a 2014 industrial hemp law that Indiana State Police and advocates of CBD say legalized the substance as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC, the ingredient that gives marijuana users their "high."

State excise police stopped seizing products but waited to return any products until "results of further lab testing are received and the legal analysis pursuant to Indiana law is complete."

Many stores, selling the product for general use, lost hundreds of dollars worth of inventory. But some stores already have put the products back on their shelves, and now could once again have their products confiscated by excise police.

Confusion over the legality of the product continued in September when Child Protective Services threatened to take away a child who used CBD to treat her seizures, the child's mother said.

Hill said his analysis lines up with the intent of the General Assembly, arguing that the 2014 industrial hemp bill did not legalize CBD oil. If it had, he said, lawmakers wouldn't have drafted legislation that created an exception for epileptic patients.

Senate leader David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said it wasn't lawmakers' intent to make it impossible for those on the registry to purchase CBD oil from Indiana stores. However, he said he did intend to keep it illegal for purposes other than for epileptic patients on the registry.

"It was our intent to allow someone to acquire (CBD oil) in those limited circumstances, and they have to buy it from someone," Long said.

While Hill's opinion doesn't have the force of law, it can be used as a guide for officials trying to sort out the state of current law.

Individual police departments and prosecutors can choose whether to charge anyone for possessing or selling CBD oil, Hill said.

Stephanie Wilson, a spokeswoman for Holcomb, said he has asked his legal team to "review the opinion for potential impact on state agency operations."

Indiana State Excise Police declined to comment on if excise will start confiscating products again and if the stores previously cited will receive their fines.

Nathan Renschler, the owner of two stores that sell CBD near Evansville and wholesaler kyhempgoods.com based in Kentucky, said he isn't pulling his products from his shelves. He believes he is on the right side of the law because of the 2014 industrial hemp bill.

"We're not going to pull it. We've had enough," Renschler said. "We know where we stand on the law. We've had our legal team look at it. Worse case scenario is we have to fight this."

Renschler typically sells between $40,000 and $50,000 of the product monthly, thorough KY Hemp Goods and another $20,000 at his retail stores. His entire business plan would be rocked if Indiana stores had to stop selling.

Hill has been outspoken in his stance against medical marijuana in Op-eds, pointing out the dangers of addiction and impaired driving.

He also said he would not be in support of lawmakers' attempts to legalize CBD oil. The appropriate channel for legalization, he said, is for the product to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

However, he added that his advisory opinion isn't based on his personal view.

"My task at this juncture is not to express my personal view of what I believe the law ought to stipulate," Hill said. "My task, rather, is to help provide clarity regarding what the law already says as written."


News Moderator: Ron Strider 420 MAGAZINE ®
Full Article: CBD oil is illegal in Indiana, Attorney General Curtis Hill says
Author: Kaitlin L Lange
Contact: Help | IndyStar
Photo Credit: iStock
Website: IndyStar | The Indianapolis Star
Top Bottom