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Indiana raid confusion leads to seizure of legal hemp-based CBD oil

In concerning news for CBD users in Indiana, a new NBC affiliate story suggests that the state’s law enforcement does not understand the CBD laws of its own state.

WTHR reported on a raid at a Fresh Thyme Farmers Market conducted by Indiana State Excise Police, seizing large quantities of a health supplement styled and sold as CBD oil.

However, it turns out that the hemp-based product seized by the authorities was actually perfectly legal according to federal and Indiana state law. New legislation does permit access to marijuana-derived CBD oil for epilepsy patients, but this is a completely different product that was not being sold at the market.

Indiana remains one of the most anti-marijuana states in America, but did at least pass a bill in early 2017 that has allowed certain patients to acquire the CBD oil medication needed for their treatment-resistant ailments. To get this CBD oil, a doctor’s recommendation is needed, as opposed to hemp-based CBD oil which can be purchased over a counter. Indiana legislation doesn’t allow the same for marijuana-based CBD oil.

However, it continues to be a waiting game for Indiana patients, who will not receive their CBD oil until regulations have been set up to go with the new law. The plan is for approved patients to be able to get CBD medicine at Indiana pharmacies.

Hemp-derived CBD oil is often sold as a health or dietary supplement at grocery and health stores around the nation. The CBD in these products is extracted from industrial hemp seeds, whereas in regular CBD oil, the whole plant – especially the CBD-rich buds – are used. This means less plant matter is needed to extract the same amount of oil.

Industrial hemp is, in botanical terms, a strain of cannabis sativa, it just has many differences. For example, the CBD concentration levels in hemp are typically much lower than in regular marijuana, while industrial hemp contains only tiny amounts of THC (so tiny that the federal government doesn’t even consider it marijuana, providing the THC level is below 0.3 percent).

The marijuana used for standard CBD oil can have CBD concentrations in excess of 15 percent, a stark difference to industrial hemp where levels can be as low as 20 parts per million. At these levels, these hemp-derived oils don’t really have any medical benefits.

However, the Indiana police force doesn’t see it that way, justifying their raid at the Fresh Thyme Farmers Market with a statute which prohibits the sale of “fake drugs”.

A spokesperson for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Committeee told WTHR that it’s illegal to possess or sell CBD oil in the state of Indana, and that this applies to licensed liquor and tobacco establishments.

Those selling the hemp-derived CBD oil are now set to face preliminary charges for possessing cannabis as well as a “counterfeit controlled substance.”

The case is yet to be reviewed or commented on by the Marion County prosecutor’s office, and this raid looks to be an anomaly. Let’s hope law-abiding vendors in Indiana are left alone.

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