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INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Eric Holcomb will wait and see how the General Assembly responds to Indiana's attorney general, who questioned the legal status of cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, before deciding whether to take enforcement action.

Earlier this year, Hoosier lawmakers authorized the possession and use of a specific CBD oil blend by Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy who register with the State Department of Health.

But Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill last week declared in an official opinion that the marijuana-derived product remains illegal in Indiana, and retailers selling CBD oil risk arrest and prosecution as well as police seizure of their CBD inventory.

Holcomb said Tuesday, in light of Hill's opinion, that he's directed the state excise police to continue performing regulatory spot checks of CBD oil products, focusing specifically on those that contain more THC, the marijuana component that produces a "high," than permitted by law.

"Because CBD oil has been sold in Indiana for several years, the excise police will use the next 60 days to educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers so there is a reasonable period of time for them to remove products that contain THC," Holcomb said.

The Republican governor indicated the 60-day window also will give state lawmakers time, following the Jan. 3 start of the legislative session, "to review existing CBD oil laws, as well as labeling requirements, while no confiscation of products occurs."

That still does not address Hill's contention that the sale, possession and use of CBD oil by Hoosiers remains prohibited under federal laws banning controlled substances — regardless of what any state law might permit.

At the same time, the attorney general's opinion is just that. While generally respected by Indiana courts, judges are not in any way bound to follow Hill's interpretation of the law.


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.