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Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill

INDIANAPOLIS — State lawmakers next year are planning to rewrite a recently enacted statute to continue authorizing the limited use of cannabidiol by Hoosiers diagnosed with treatment-resistant epilepsy.

Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill declared Tuesday that the marijuana-derived product remains illegal in Indiana, and retailers selling cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, risk arrest and prosecution as well as police seizure of their CBD inventory.

Hill said in an official opinion that House Enrolled Act 1148, signed into law in April by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, permits the possession and use of a specific CBD oil blend by Hoosiers with treatment-resistant epilepsy who have registered with the State Department of Health.

However, he found that the law does not authorize the sale or distribution of CBD oil under any circumstances, and even 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.

"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.

Official opinions of the attorney general generally are respected by Indiana courts, but judges are not in any way bound to follow Hill's interpretation of the law.

Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, agreed that the Legislature never authorized the general sale of CBD oil. But he said individuals who are permitted to use it under state law do need a way to purchase it.

State Sens. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville, and Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse, said they will file legislation in January to clarify who can buy and sell CBD oil in Indiana, notwithstanding the federal prohibition.

"There is still a lot of misunderstanding regarding what CBD oil is, where it comes from and what it does," they said. "CBD oil does not create a 'high,' but what it can do is help those who suffer from multiple seizures a day."

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

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.