May 27, 2022

Lawmakers may study cannabis decriminalization, THC products in summer health committee

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Lawmakers studied cannabis for medical use in 2018, but pushes for any form of legalization have been unsuccessful. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Lawmakers studied cannabis for medical use in 2018, but pushes for any form of legalization have been unsuccessful.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

THC products and potential cannabis decriminalization are among the topics lawmakers may study this summer. The topic selection was part of the General Assembly’s one-day technical session.

The public health committee is tasked with studying delta-8, delta-9, and other THC products regarding potential health benefits, consequences and decriminalization.

Delta-8 is a legal THC derivative that comes from hemp plants. A loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill opened the door for the substance when its language only mentioned delta-9 THC. Delta-9 is the chemical in cannabis that gets users "high."

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) said the topic was added so lawmakers could get a better understanding of those products.

“I know that most of the General Assembly isn’t familiar – intimately familiar at least – with the pros and cons or health benefits or the negatives involved in delta-8, delta-9, and THC products generally,” Bray said.

READ MORE: 'Legal weed?' in Indiana? Delta-8 THC is everywhere, and officials would prefer to not talk about it

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Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said he hopes this opens the door for Republicans to approach decriminalization.

“I felt like it was in the wrong committee,” Taylor said. “But if they’re going to discuss it, I’ll be here to provide my input on what we should do.”

Lawmakers studied cannabis for medical use in 2018, but pushes for any form of legalization have been unsuccessful.

CLARIFICATION: A previous version of this story said delta-8 was available for purchase because of the 2018 Farm Bill's limit on THC in hemp plants. For the purpose of clarity, we've adjusted the language so it is clear that delta-9 is available under the 0.3 percent THC limit and delta-8 is a THC derivative of hemp plants.

Contact Lauren at lchapman@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @laurenechapman_.

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