INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Govern Eric Holcomb extended the grace period for CBD Oil confiscations Friday until the legislative session concludes.
Governor Holcomb said back in November he was directing Indiana State Police to use 60 days to "educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers so there is a reasonable period of time for them to remove products that contain THC."
No confiscations of the product were to occur during that period, and that directive continues until at least March 21, 2018.
"I said back in November that I was open to extending the education period on CBD oil products to give legislators the time they need to add clarity to Indiana law," Holcomb said in a press release Friday. "Lawmakers have indicated they would like more time to consider proposed legislation. For that reason, I am extending the education period for CBD oil products and the moratorium on issuing citations or removing products from retailers until the legislative session concludes."
Holcomb's new directive comes after Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill declared CBD oil illegal in the state. Hill's ruling could cause a conflict with a bill signed into law by Holcomb in early 2017.
"The legislation I signed in the spring continues to help protect Hoosiers struggling with epilepsy who use CBD oil products for treatment, provided they register with the Indiana State Department of Health," Holcomb said in November.
HEA 1148 allowed for a registry for certain physicians and caregivers to use hemp oil for children with intractable epilepsy. It was also to encourage the further study of its use in treating the epilepsy. The CBD oil used to treat those people would have no more than .3 percent of THC, the chemical that gets people high.
Austin Rhodus, CEO of Dreem Nutrition, which distributes CBD oil to stores throughout central Indiana, said in November that sales were higher than ever because customers are afraid they won't be able to buy the oil much longer.
Rhodus said his products do not have any THC and he doesn't not plan to stop selling the product. He started a petition supporting CBD oil and it gathered 10,000 signatures in five days,
"We're not talking about more people high walking around the streets. We're just talking about more people being able to walk around the streets. Period," he said.
CBD oil is made from hemp, a plant that has little or no THC and cannot cause a high at all, unlike its cannabis cousin marijuana.
"I can get through my work day without struggling to stay awake," said Sally Smith, who uses the oil to treat nerve pain brought on by Multiple Sclerosis. "I think it's really frustrating. It's everybody's right to feel good and to be normal and to have a normal life and to be able to enjoy life."
The law for those on the registry remains in place, Hill said in his ruling. But the question remains of how those patients will get access to the drug if stores will be cited for selling it once this grace period expires.
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