CBD oil continues to be an area of confusion and concern in the state of Indiana. On November 21, 2017, the Office of the Attorney General issued Official Opinion 2017-7 to outline the reasons why CBD oil should not be made available to the general public.
“Simply put, cannabidiol is a schedule 1 controlled substance because marijuana is a schedule 1 controlled substance,” says Attorney General Curtis Hill.
This publication comes on the heels of a raid conducted by the Indiana State Excise Police on a Fresh Thyme grocery store in Greenwood, Indiana in June 2017. The excise police confiscated thousands of dollars worth of CBD oil products from the shelves of a Fresh Thyme market in Greenwood, just outside of Indianapolis. Their actions brought an outrage from customers that purchased the homeopathic oil as an alternative to addictive pain relievers. After the story gained statewide attention by Channel 13 WTHR, the store was able to restock the shelves pending legal clarification.
However, the Opinion 2017-7 paper does little to clarify the federal and state laws concerning the legal status of CBD oil. If anything, it adds more confusion to the issue. One section reads as follows:
“Plants grown to produce marijuana as a drug and plants grown to produce hemp products both derive from plants belonging to the genus Cannabis. The government’s long-held view is that Cannabis is a single, polytrophic genus that can manifest differing characteristics. Varieties can therefore be developed through hybridization to exhibit desired attributes, such as low-Tetrahydrocannabinol forms or high-cannabidiol forms. This is why the United States Congress, federal enforcement authorities, and courts traditionally have held fast to the botanical characterization of all parts of the Cannabis plant identified in the definition under the CSA as marijuana.”
This type of reasoning leaves no room for discussion and defies all logic. Take the example of ethanol, for instance. Since ethanol is a product of alcohol and the minimum drinking age in Indiana is 21, no one under 21 should be allowed to purchase ethanol because alcohol and ethanol are one in the same, regardless of the manifestation that occurs. Of course this is an absurd statement, but a similar comparison to the issue of marijuana.
As stated in the Clarification of the New Drug Code (7350) for Marijuana Extract, cannabinoids are not found in the parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the CSA definition of marijuana, except for trace amounts. This New Drug Code was referred to in Official Opinion 2017-7, furthering the confusion.
According to Governor Eric Holcomb, all stores in Indiana that currently sell CBD products have 60 days to sell or remove said products from store shelves or risk being in violation of the law. Let’s hope that someone can put this whole matter in perspective within the next 2 months in order to avoid more hardships for store owners and customers.