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CBD bill in Indiana transforms into gun reform bill

Indiana’s CBD laws have thrown up some bizarre circumstances over the past two years or so, but nothing was more baffling than what happened with House Bill 1214, which was supposed to be about making CBD legal and ended up being about making gun access easier.

HB 1214 was subjected to a “strip and replace” procedure by Indiana legislators, which essentially meant changing the language of the bill as to change its purpose entirely. Now, HB 1214 stands for relaxing restrictions surrounding handguns, not regulating high-CBD, low-THC hemp-derived products.

It’s a strange turn of events, but perhaps one that can be explained through the complex, but mundane world of legislation. HB 1214 was passed by the Indiana House back in January by a close 93-90 margin. The bill would have been transformative for Hoosiers, permitting CBD usage for chronic pain, seizures, Alzheimer’s more. The bill also passed comfortably through the Indiana Senate.

Usually, after passing through the House and Senate, a bill would go to the joint conference committee so any differences between the language in the House and Senate versions could be corrected. Then, HB 1214 would have been sent to Governor Eric Holcomb’s desk to be written into law.

However, House Rep. Bill Friend, a Republican representing Macy explained to WTHR that HB 1214 “doesn’t have anything to do with CBD oil.”

After Friend’s work to navigate the bill through committee hearings and floor votes in both of Indiana’s legislative chambers, it was then gutted, with language changed to pass an unconnected bill to relax gun laws.

Thankfully, while the House has turned HB 1214 into a zombie bill, it’s still there with its original language in the Indiana Senate. SB 52 is a CBD bill, and providing lawmakers in the House and Senate make good on what they said they would do, the bill should reach Governor Holcomb for signing very soon.

Anti-CBD forces had sought to prevent legalization in Indiana, however the bubbling public support meant that fully-fledged legalization was inevitable in the Hoosier state. SB 52’s passage would make it legal to possess and sell CBD oil in Indiana, providing it doesn’t contain more than 0.3 percent THC. Products must conform to Indiana-specific labelling requirements. There were plans to allow in-state manufacture of CBD oil, although this section was removed from the bill when the conference committee convened.

With HB 1214 and SB 52 essentially doing the same thing in legalizing CBD oil, there was no need for both bills, which is why the house bill became a “vehicle bill.” HB 1214 had already passed through the House and Senate and served no further purpose. Therefore, while peculiar, that it has now been totally changed presents no threat to CBD legalization.

The gun legislation language which now makes up HB 1214 originally came from HB 1424. Indiana residents must currently pay a fee for a gun permit, some of which last for only five years. The law change would have allowed residents to obtain a free state gun permit that never expires. HB 1424 had made it through the House and Senate Judiciary Committee, but never got a floor vote in the Senate after getting stuck in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Now it has another chance.

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