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New Legislation Seeks to Legalize Hemp Farming in Indiana

Medical Cannabis

Senate Bill 516 seeks to pass the legalization of hemp in Indiana. It’s passed through the Senate with flying colors following a vote of 47 – 1. The bill is headed to the House.

An amendment in the legislation makes selling or possessing smokable forms of hemp illegal, the Indy Star says. CBD flower would be illegal, as would hemp flower. Hemp flower is smokable but isn’t popular.

The legislation clearly outlines that hemp flower can only be sold to a licensed processor. Possession of smokable hemp is a Class C misdemeanor and dealing it is a Class A misdemeanor. Law enforcement requested the provision about distribution of hemp flower.

Senator Randy Head said, “People are abusing it currently.”

Law enforcement has received complaints about some retailers selling hemp flower, but upon testing of the products, the THC content proved to be higher than what should be found in hemp. In police field tests, only the presence of cannabinoids can be tested, not actual concentration levels.

Some retailers are selling legal products containing 0.3% THC or less.

Senator Karen Tallian was the sole opposing vote of the legislation. She says that law enforcement is worried about marijuana, not hemp.

Senator Tallian said, “The whole thing needs to come out of (the bill). The smokable hemp is a non-starter. It doesn’t need to be in that bill at all.”

Tallian also raised concerns about currently legal CBD products becoming illegal under the amendment requested by law enforcement.

Senator Tallian said, “They very well make have just made all of the CBD oil products illegal. I don’t think they meant to do that … Inadvertently that’s the way they wrote this.”

Some may be taking things out of context, but there needs to be a clear separation of what’s legal and what isn’t in the legislation to prevent the confusion that’s already circulating. The state could consider creating regulations for testing CBD flower to ensure that it meets the state’s regulations regarding it, which could clear up some of the uncertainty.