Hammond mayor, and his dog, confront Indiana attorney general over CBD oil

Teddy McDermott, the 12-year-old yellow Labrador retriever owned by Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Jr., regularly is given CBD oil to alleviate pain caused by hip dysplasia and arthritis. Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill contends it is illegal for Hoosiers to purchase or use CBD oil. 

Photo by Thomas McDermott, Jr.

INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb is giving Hoosier lawmakers more time to figure out what the state's policy toward cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, should be, before allowing state police to enforce what Attorney General Curtis Hill believes is an existing prohibition on the sale of the marijuana-derived product.

The Republican chief executive announced Friday that he's continuing the 60-day moratorium on CBD oil citations that he issued in November to run through the March 14 adjournment of the 2018 General Assembly.

"I said back in November that I was open to extending the education period on CBD oil products to give legislators the time they need to add clarity to Indiana law," Holcomb said. "Lawmakers have indicated they would like more time to consider proposed legislation."

"For that reason, I am extending the education period for CBD oil products and the moratorium on issuing citations or removing products from retailers until the legislative session concludes."

Holcomb's initial order followed the release of an official opinion by the Republican attorney general that found even though Indiana lawmakers last year authorized Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy to use CBD oil, they did not authorize retailers to sell the product.

Moreover, Hill said even those individuals entitled to use CBD oil under state law still are prohibited by federal law from doing so, because marijuana and marijuana-derived products are banned controlled substances — even those, such as CBD oil, that lack the ingredient that produces a "high."

"There is no doubt, as a matter of legal interpretation, that products or substances marketed generally for human consumption or ingestion, and containing cannabidiol, remain unlawful in Indiana as well as under federal law," Hill said.

Several measures pending in the Indiana House and Senate would allow any Hoosier to purchase and use CBD oil under an exception for industrial hemp products enacted into federal law in 2015.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.