INDIANAPOLIS — Allowing CBD oil to be available to all Hoosiers may have seemed simple at the start of the legislative session in January.
But it became bogged down as legislators argued that the state wasn’t ready to manufacture cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis compound with medical benefits, and came up with proposals to label the product to indicate it had no more than 0.3 percent THC, the element that gives the marijuana high.
Three hours short of Wednesday night's midnight deadline, on the final day of the session, a compromise was reached. The Senate passed the bill 36-11. It was passed 97-0 by the House at 10:04 p.m.
Under one conference committee report, products with low THC extract content, such as CBD, would be permitted if the packages were labeled with such items as the name of the manufacturer, the ingredients and an expiration date, among a list of other requirements beginning July 1.
A summer study committee would look at industrial hemp as a commodity in Indiana and the manufacturing of products with low THC such as CBD.
Last session, the Indiana General Assembly approved the use of CBD oil for people suffering from epileptic seizures as long as they registered with the Indiana State Board of Health. But the Legislature failed to pass a law allowing Hoosiers to buy the hemp-derived product.
This session, the Legislature worked toward making it legal to buy the product.
The process became snagged when Gov. Eric Holcomb told legislators he didn’t want manufacturing to be legal in Indiana.
Last-ditch efforts to push wider CBD oil access were reportedly underway Wednesday.
By 1 p.m., a revised version of the proposal was floating around the chambers with the latest including a provision for manufacturing CBD in Indiana.
"There's a lot of red tape that I wouldn't have necessarily thought was necessary in this bill, but I think that may be necessary to get it through the Senate Republican caucus," state Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, said. "At least I'm hoping we will have a bill that will legalize the purchase over the counter of CBD oil."
Most other CBD bills died in committee. One bill was stripped of CBD language and replaced with legislation allowing Hoosiers to carry guns on church school property.
One of the bills proceeding through the session, Senate Bill 52, authored by Sen. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, would require labeling and allow CBD sales to any Hoosier.
“None of us know the chemicals that are used," Young said. "Are there other things than the 0.3 percent THC? Other things than cannabidiol oil? What if there’s something else they put in it that you’re allergic to? You have no idea what’s in the product.”
The labeling would give protection to CBD oil users if they are stopped by police and a CBD bottle is found, among other provisions. The labeling would be required of Indiana manufacturers.
“That’s what we’re trying to do here," Young said, "allow anybody to buy it, anybody to sell it, allow citizens to know what's in it to protect them from being charged. And have people come to Indiana to create jobs and start producing the product here.”