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Legal History of CBD in Indiana

Posted by Kerry Hinkle on

Legal History of CBD In Indiana

CBD, a naturally occurring cannabinoid found in Hemp, hasn’t always been readily available like it is today.  The war on Cannabis, which we’ve covered before, has been going on for almost 100 years in this country.   

Due to a racist Justice Department, misinformation spread through newspapers, & public fear caused by films like Reefer Madness, this caused the greatest nation in the world to fear a plant.

However, in the past decade, this country has made more progress on Cannabis than ever before.  But, this progress has come with setbacks, jail time, and real issues that hurt every stakeholder in this industry.

Today, we’re going to look at what caused the Green Rush that we’re experiencing now, review one of the more embarrassing moments the State of Indiana faced regarding CBD, and where we currently stand on this “controversial” Cannabinoid.  

2014 Farm Bill

2014 Farm Bill significance for CBD & Hemp.

With the February 7th signing of the 2014 Farm Bill a multi-billion dollar industry was born.  This 357 page document contains language & funding that affects farmers of all sizes & crops across the country.  

But, for today’s purposes, we’re focusing on one single page that changed this country forever.  Section 7606 on page 264 outlined an agricultural Hemp Pilot Program, meaning for the first time in almost 100 years, the U.S. Government was allowing Hemp to be grown here legally.


This pilot program allowed two groups to grow Hemp, State Agriculture Departments & Institutions of Higher Education.  The purpose of these Hemp Pilot Programs was to “study the growth, cultivation, or marketing of industrial hemp”.

Over the next four years, Section 7606 allowed states like Oregon, California, & Kentucky to expand Hemp growing for “educational” purposes.  But, once these programs started growing in popularity, & with CBD coming into the mainstream, these educational programs quickly realized there was profit to be made from Hemp.

The CBD market was quickly taking shape, and within 4 short years, you could probably find some sort of CBD in all 50 states.  But, because of the speed at which CBD took off, there were clear holes in the federal & state laws that led to major problems.  

Fresh Thyme CBD Incident In Indiana

CBD in Indiana pulled off the shelves of Fresh Thyme.

On June 14th, 2017, Indiana State Excise Police made national news when they decided to raid a Fresh Thyme grocery store to remove the CBD products they were selling.

As detailed here, one afternoon the State Excise Police decided to show up to a grocery store, take all their CBD products off the shelves, with no explanation of when they could get it back.

One spokesperson for the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) was quoted saying ““CBD oil is not legal to sell or possess in Indiana… The businesses found in possession are cited administratively under their alcohol or tobacco sales certificate for the preliminary charges of possession of marijuana and possession of [a] counterfeit controlled substance.” 

But, when this raid happened, it was only a few months after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb had just signed a bill into law allowing people suffering from seizures to purchase, possess, and use CBD oil.  So, some people in the Indiana government  were starting to come around on the idea that CBD could be beneficial, but others felt selling this product fell under the umbrella of Marijuana enforcement.  

This confusion led to many people benefiting from CBD to no longer be able to get their product, it hurt retailers who no longer felt safe selling CBD, and it hurt the state because of the loss in tax revenue from selling CBD.  It was a clear lose-lose-lose situation.  

So, on one hand the government was acknowledging CBD could benefit some people, but at the same time giving the impression if you sold any CBD you could go to jail because it was a Schedule 1 drug.  

It was all very confusing & frustrating for anyone in the State of Indiana looking for CBD.  

2018 Farm Bill

2018 farm bill hemp hemp hooray for CBD.

Enter the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed on December 20th 2018.  This bill had a lot more text regarding Hemp than the 2014 version.  

The 2018 Farm Bill explicitly removed Hemp from having a Schedule 1 drug designation, meaning the DEA no longer has purview over Hemp.  This massive change in how we view Hemp was so important because this plant was no longer viewed as a harmful substance, but rather an agricultural product the same as corn, wheat, or barley.

Removing Hemp from a Schedule 1 designation was so critical for everyone involved in the industry, but especially the farmers.  Hemp farmers can now apply for federal loans, crop protection, insurance, and more thanks to this provision.

If that wasn’t enough good news, Section 297A defined Hemp as ‘‘(1) HEMP.—The term ‘hemp’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

This change in how we define Hemp is what allowed for massive expansion of CBD into the U.S. market.  The “derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids” language in the Farm Bill is clearly referencing CBD, but also applies to other Cannabinoids like CBN or CBG.

This language is what many advocates of Hemp/CBD point to when any legal challenges come up regarding the retail sale of CBD, like the Fresh Thyme incident.  The Indiana Attorney General could no longer claim CBD should be viewed the same as Marijuana.  

The 2018 Farm Bill is without question the most impactful law regarding Hemp in almost 100 years.  But, as we’ve touched on before, H.R. 8179 could be an even bigger deal if we’re able to define CBD as a dietary supplement.  

Rules For CBD in Indiana Today

Indiana crossroads of America with cannabis buds.

On March 21st, 2018, Indiana explicitly legalized the retail sale of CBD with Senate Act No. 52.  This bill was signed into law only 2 months after it was introduced on January 3rd by State Senator Long.  

This bill required sellers of CBD to have a valid retail license, have Certificate of Analysis with each product, and a scan-able QR code on each product that should take you to the COA associated with the product.  

What sticks out to me about this, is that only 6 months before this bill was introduced into the legislature, the Indiana State Excise Police were trying to throw people in jail for selling CBD.  

That’s how quickly minds have changed on CBD. While the government is notoriously a slow moving body, on the issue of CBD, there was bipartisan support.  Once educated on the product, the benefits & low risks associated with it, most reasonable people come to the conclusion that everyone should be able to purchase CBD, if they so choose.  

We applaud all the trailblazers that were willing to sell this product before it was explicitly legal to do so.  While we still have a long way to go, we believe we’re on the right side of history when it comes to Cannabis consumption in this country.


The content on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. While research has shown that CBD has the potential to help provide beneficial outcomes for several complaints, it is advisable to seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider when you have questions regarding any medical condition and when starting, augmenting or discontinuing any existing health routine. 

FDA Disclaimer: Any statements made within this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No products produced, manufactured, marketed, or distributed are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before beginning any supplements or botanical extracts. If pregnant or breast feeding, consult with your physician before use. For use by adults 18+. Keep out of reach of children.


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