December 13, 2017

AG Hill Cautions Against Expanding CBD Oil Legality Too Far

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) and Attorney General Curtis Hill (R-Ind.) debated marijuana policy at a conference Wednesday. - Brandon Smith/IPB News

Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) and Attorney General Curtis Hill (R-Ind.) debated marijuana policy at a conference Wednesday.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill says he’s not opposed to using CBD oil products to treat medical conditions, but with very specific conditions.

Speaking on a panel Wednesday, Hill noted it’s not his role to decide on the legality of those products.

Debate has picked up in recent weeks over cannabidiol or CBD oil, a marijuana-derived product. The state legislature approved a bill earlier this year to legalize CBD oil if used to treat certain epilepsy conditions.

But some retailers believe a 2014 state law allows the sale of any CBD product in small doses. Hill issued an opinion last month saying he thinks possession and sale of CBD oil is illegal, except for those covered under this year’s law.

Still, Hill says he’s not opposed to expanding the legality of CBD products for medical treatment, but only if, for instance, they are FDA approved.

“Just calling something medicine doesn’t make it so,” Hill says.

But in a back-and-forth with Hill, Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said there’s no good reason to restrict medical use of CBD oil.

“We need to open up medical research, we need to open up the possibility that if you’re a terminal cancer patient – I don’t need an FDA approved study,” Tallian says.

Legislative leaders say they’ll seek to clarify state law on CBD oil in the 2018 session.

Hill and Tallian are even further apart on marijuana policy. Hill, a former county prosecutor, has been outspoken in his opposition to any steps the state might take toward legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use.

Hill says that includes medical marijuana.

“I hear people say, ‘Well I support medical marijuana but not recreational marijuana.’ There’s really no distinction. If you approve of medical marijuana – in the sense of just simply saying it’s for medicinal purposes – you’re really opening the door up for recreational use,” he says.

Several groups, including Indiana’s American Legion, have called for medical marijuana legalization.

Tallian has long advocated for marijuana policy reform.

“We need to ask ourselves in the state why we treat marijuana so differently from alcohol,” she says.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said in recent weeks he’s opposed to any legalization of marijuana, including for medicinal purposes.

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