Hemp Bills Advance In Indiana House

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A bill promoted as opening the state’s hemp market and selling its CBD byproduct in Indiana passed unanimously out of the House on Wednesday.

“We are talking thousands of jobs alone, not to mention the moral implications of allowing people access to a product that has been proven and shown to help,” said Re. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour.

Lucas’ House Bill 1137 has received bipartisan support in the Indiana General Assembly. The bill passed out of the House 90-0 and now heads to the Senate.

Currently, hemp can only be grown for research purposes. As proposed, a grower would be required to be monitored by the Indiana Department of Agriculture.

Last session, the legislature approved the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oil by Hoosiers with epilepsy. However, the General Assembly did not approve the sale of CBD, according to a controversial ruling by Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.

Of his bill, Lucas said, “What that does, besides just eliminating the confusion around CBD, it opens up a whole market for hemp.”

Lucas acknowledged the hemp market could be seen as replacing losses from the of tobacco.

“We’re seeing that in Kentucky right now,” Lucas said. “Kentucky suffered a big hit from the loss of tobacco farming and they are converting to hemp and its byproducts.”

“Many people that are interested in health care are interested in this bill,” said Rep. Sheila Klinker, D-Lafayette.

Another bill, passed Tuesday by the House, legalizes CBD oil by defining it as a product that does not contain more than 0.3 percent THC but containing 0.5 percent cannabidiol.

“(House Bill 1214) doesn’t address whether or not you can produce it, make it, develop it or any other industrial hemp product. That’s what Rep. Lucas’ bill is doing,” said Rep. Thomas Washburne, R-Darmstadt.