Marijuana isn’t legal in Indiana yet, but they took steps to pass a law in April to legalize the use of CBD – a cannabis extract – to treat those suffering from epilepsy.
It was a good start, until, according to this report from the IndyStar, the Indiana State Excise police decided to go to the 57 stores where it was being sold to confiscate it, effectively stopping the patients from getting their medicine.
Over the next five weeks, they confiscated over 3,000 CBD products, only to stop because, under the new CBD law, patients who have treatment-resistant epilepsy are allowed to possess cannabidiol as part of the state registry.
So what happened? The Indiana Excise Police (which is the legal arm of the Indiana ATF) decided that possession of CBD for any other reason than what was outlined for treatment-resistant epilepsy was a crime, as so the crackdown began. The problem with that was that CBD, along with industrial hemp products, have been legal in Indiana since 2014. Stores around the state have been selling all manner of CBD products for well over a year – legally.
The unintentionally illegal crackdown by the excise police has brought CBD advocates out to question how the laws are framed, and how lawmakers can better ensure that those suffering from epilepsy won’t be unduly affected. The chaos surrounding this legal misstep even garnered a reaction from Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, who’s planning to write a formal opinion on the matter to try to clear things up.
This may seem too little, too late for many of the store owners who lost thousands of dollars in merchandise during the raids. Jeff Shelton, a store owner who lost over $1,500 in products stated that he felt that the police who came in didn’t know what they were looking for, and in his opinion, didn’t know about CBD or the current laws.
Moving forward, though the consensus is that the seizures were illegal, lawmakers blame the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, police blame the lawmakers, and the conservative lawmakers are wary of making any moves that would appear to legalize marijuana in any form, not wanting to alienate their conservative voter base.
Indiana has a long way to go when it comes to clearing up their legal gray areas concerning CBD.