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Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signs updated CBD bill

The end has admittedly been in sight for a while, but CBD is now officially legal in the state of Indiana – finally! Senate Bill 52 (SB-52) swiftly made it through the House and Senate, and Governor Eric Holcomb signed it in March 2018.

A bill to legalize CBD was passed in April 2017, however SB-52 helped to clear up any uncertainties surrounding the requirements and standards for CBD oil products. The updated legislation will eventually offer more Indianans access to higher quality, more potent and more effective CBD oil.

A year of CBD legislation turmoil comes to an end

Despite becoming legal nearly a year ago, state law enforcement seemed not to understand the bill, and conducted raids on grocery stores and health stores, seizing perfectly legal CBD products.

Governor Holcomb should perhaps have studied the bill that he signed more closely, as lawmakers pointed out after he ordered a crackdown on a product that he had only recently permitted. The April 2017 legislation exempted approved patients from facing criminal prosecution for using CBD.

Jim Tomes took matters into his own hands in early 2018. The Republican state senator introduced SB-52 with the no-nonsense intention to “just make this product legal.”

The wording of Tomes bill is far better than in the first bill that lawmakers passed. It clarifies that CBD oil is not a controlled substance in Indiana, and that it is legal to manufacture, possess, use and sell products made with CBD.

The bill raced through Indiana’s House and Senate, with a 93-0 unanimous vote in the former and a 36-11 victory in the latter. This all happened within the space of two and a half weeks.

Shortly after, Governor Holcomb signed SB-52, making it law and giving Indiana a more comprehensive framework on CBD legislation.

“Hoosiers who benefit from CBD oil can access it”

It seems that the governor finally knows what he wants regarding medical cannabis legislation in his state. He praised the work of lawmakers to deliver the historic votes and spoke positively about Hoosiers now having good access to CBD oil.

SB-52 has already come into effect due to a specific clause, bringing and end to the months of complications and uncertainty.

The best part about SB-52 was that it gives law enforcement a much clearer idea of what is legal and what is not. The updated legislation brings with it rules and product packaging regulations. Some have praised this, saying that it will ensure that there are no more unjust police raids and confiscations. The idea is that this will protect both consumers and companies selling CBD products.

However, not everybody is chuffed about the strictness of these regulations, with some complaining that things have gone too far. Nathan Renschler, who owns a CBD company in Indiana, said that when lawmakers panic, they overreach with legislation, arguing that is exactly what they have done here with the rules surrounding product labels.

Renschler also pointed out that the CBD industry is imposed with much tighter regulations than other industries currently operating in the Hoosier state.

All CBD products sold in Indiana must come with a special QR code on the product label, that links to a document listing which specific ingredients have been used and where they were sourced. However, this level of bureaucracy is a burden on companies based outside of Indiana, who will have to design and produce a completely new set of labels, just because of one state’s regulations – for many smaller companies, it’s simply not worth it financially.

The lack of small businesses in the market would give CBD users in Indiana limited choice – similar happen when the state set strict regulations on e-liquid manufacturers for vaping.

Renschler added that companies selling vitamins or other kinds of supplements are not required to make labels with QR codes in Indiana.

Final thoughts

Thankfully, a few lawmakers have already noticed the flaws in SB-52 and have already pledged to come back to the bill once the chambers are back in session – they’re in agreement that changes need to be made.

However, legislators were keen to point out that to get CBD legalized in Indiana is a huge achievement in its own right. Bloomington’s Democratic representative Matt Pierce is one elected official taking this line, and he is also happy to revisit SB-52 in due course.

For Indianans who wish to medicate with CBD, they can at least do so in peace – even if products may be a little expensive for now.

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