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Indiana’s CBD debate just took its weirdest turn yet

Indiana has been asking a bizarre question of late: can dogs be arrested for CBD usage? The Hoosier state was embroiled in legal arguments throughout 2017 over the legality of the non-psychoactive molecule, and the debate has now taken an unusual turn. It came after the mayor of an Indiana town questioned the state’s law enforcement on whether a dog would be liable for arrest if using the substance for medicinal purposes.


No laughing matter
When Thomas McDermott, the mayor of Hammond, raised the query at a panel discussion, it drew laughter from the audience. But it turns out that McDermott was completely serious. The mayor lectured Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill over the matter, in a discussion over the state’s general policy on marijuana.

CBD was legalized in Indiana in 2017 for specific epilepsy medical uses. Subsequently, some Hoosier stores started to stock cannabis oil, which proved rather popular with consumers. But the honeymoon was short-lived, as law enforcement soon began to crackdown on the compound.

Drug-busting raids were soon underway all over the state, with law enforcement showing a heavy hand. To make matters worse, even legislators were confused about the legality of CBD, plunging the state into cannabis confusion. Eventually, Attorney General Hill determined the sale of cannabis oil to be illegal in the state until the medical marijuana registry was launched in 2018. Even after legalizing, only patients who qualified for CBD access would be allowed to purchase and possess it.

Therefore, if an Indiana citizen is found in possession of CBD without official approval, they could technically be arrested.

But seriously, what about our canine friends?


McDermott gives his dog CBD
Mayor McDermott wasn’t just asking Attorney General Hill about dogs using CBD to be awkward. It turns out that the mayor gives his 12-year-old Labrador Teddy cannabidiol medication after it was recommended by his veterinarian to deal with the dog’s hip issues and arthritis.

The vet said that regular CBD dosing would help to reduce the severity of the pain and he was right. Soon after beginning treatment, Teddy was moving much more freely, his appetite had improved, and his energy levels were up – it was a remarkable transformation.

Yet McDermott wasn’t purchasing CBD for Teddy from any stores in Indiana. Instead, he was purchasing CBD edible products off the internet and had them delivered to his home in Indiana, according to an Indianapolis Star report.

Attorney General Hill was firm in that buying CBD in this manner went against Indiana state law. So technically, by taking CBD, Teddy the Labrador was breaking the law. But does that mean dogs can be arrested for CBD use?


Teddy wouldn’t be arrested, but his owner could be
Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s no way that a dog would be arrested for having CBD medical dog treats – but in the case of Teddy and McDermott, there may be grounds for the latter’s arrest as far as AG Hill is concerned.

However, Mayor McDermott has no plans to stop administering the effective, non-psychoactive medicine to his lab, even with the threat of jail. He declared Hill’s stance “grandstanding” in an interview with the Star, and that he has no intention of seeing his dog go through pain because Hill is attempting to score “political points.”

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