INDIANAPOLIS — Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. is not the only Hoosier politician willing to treat his ailing dog using CBD oil, regardless of Attorney General Curtis Hill's official opinion that the marijuana-derived product is illegal in Indiana.
Gov. Eric Holcomb told The Times in an exclusive interview Friday that if Indiana's "first dog," Henry Holcomb, the governor's 7-year-old miniature schnauzer, was in pain that could be relieved by CBD oil, he'd be open to administering it.
"I would have an interest in it," Holcomb said. "I would consider it."
The Republican chief executive was well aware of Wednesday's clash between the Democratic mayor and the state's Republican top lawyer at the BGD Legislative Conference in Indianapolis.
After McDermott accused Hill of "grandstanding" on cannabidiol, or CBD oil, the attorney general suggested the mayor could face criminal penalties for treating his arthritis-suffering 12-year-old dog, Teddy, with the medicine — which McDermott said does not contain the marijuana ingredient that produces a "high."
The mayor, on his WJOB-AM radio program Friday, continued to insist Hill is grandstanding over CBD oil to the detriment of Hoosiers, and their pets, who may benefit from using it.
The Twitter account for McDermott's dog, "@MayorTomCanine," also posted a photo depicting the yellow Labrador retriever outfitted in prison stripes and asking if that's what Hill wants to see the dog wearing.
"I think it's ridiculous," McDermott said. "This guy, in my opinion, he's trying to score points with Trump; he's trying to score points with his Republican base, like 'I am just tough on marijuana; even the stuff that doesn't get you high — I'm tough on it.' "
A law Holcomb signed in April permits Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy who register at the State Department of Health to use CBD oil. House Enrolled Act 1148 did not address animal use of the product.
Hill contends that law did not authorize Hoosiers to purchase CBD oil under any circumstances, even if they are permitted to use it. Moreover, he believes the use of CBD oil remains illegal under federal law.
Holcomb said the confusion over what is legal and illegal pertaining to CBD oil is one reason he directed the State Excise Police last month not to confiscate the product, as Hill suggested they could, but merely to advise retailers that the legal status of CBD oil is in doubt.
The governor hopes the Republican-controlled General Assembly will take action to clear up confusion over the law when state representatives and senators convene their 10-week annual session Jan. 3.
"I do think some clarification would go a long way, so that back-and-forths like we saw at that conference aren't just punchlines," Holcomb said.