Hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) was legalized in Indiana in March 2018. Indiana consumers can enjoy access to CBD products derived from hemp that contain no more than 0.3% THC by weight.
The cultivation of hemp for research purposes was made legal in Indiana in 2014, under the Industrial Hemp Act. Following the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, Indiana lawmakers are currently drafting regulations to license and operate commercial Indiana-based hemp growers and processors.
Indiana has no medical marijuana program, and adult-use cannabis is illegal. CBD derived from cannabis is also illegal.
What is CBD?
CBD is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis and the second-most prominent in the plant after THC, which is largely responsible for producing an intoxicating high. CBD can be sourced either from marijuana or hemp plants and has a wide range of potential therapeutic benefits.
To date, researchers have identified a number of potential applications linked to CBD, including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-anxiety, and anti-seizure properties. Further, the chemical has shown promise in treating numerous health conditions, including seizure disorders, mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis, chronic pain, and many more.
Most raw cannabis strains on the market today contain small amounts of CBD, especially compared with THC. But since the cannabinoid has gained considerable attention for its wide range of purported therapeutic benefits, more high-CBD strains have recently been cultivated.
Why is CBD sometimes illegal?
All types of cannabis, including hemp strains that don't produce enough THC to cause intoxication, were considered illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The law categorized all cannabis as Schedule 1, which defined the plant as a highly addictive substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
The 2018 Farm Bill re-classified hemp as an agricultural commodity and made its cultivation federally legal. Further, the act removed some forms of cannabis from Schedule 1 status by creating a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. Hemp is cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, and marijuana refers to cannabis with more than 0.3% THC. This distinction in federal law effectively legalized CBD that is derived from cannabis with less than 0.3% THC, as long as it has been cultivated according to federal and state regulations.
The 2018 Farm Bill legislation does not mean that CBD derived from hemp is universally legal throughout the United States. According to the Farm Bill, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to regulate CBD product labeling, including therapeutic claims and the use of CBD as a food additive.
The FDA has declared that even hemp-derived CBD may not legally be added to food and beverages, or marketed as a dietary supplement. Although the organization has begun to re-evaluate some of its stances on legal CBD products, the FDA has not revised its regulations. The agency also has been strict in its position against any labeling that could be perceived as a medical claim about CBD.
In addition to the federal regulation of CBD, the Farm Bill also gave states the option to regulate and prohibit the cultivation and commerce of CBD. States may regulate CBD in food, beverages, dietary supplements, and cosmetic products independently, even before the FDA finalizes its policies. Indiana has not specified any regulations regarding the use of CBD in food, beverages or cosmetic products, however.
Indiana CBD laws
Indiana has historically maintained an anti-cannabis stance. Multiple bills (such as HB 1487 and SB 284) have endeavored to develop a medical marijuana program, but no bill has yet successfully reached the governor's desk. CBD derived from cannabis is illegal.
The cultivation of industrial hemp and the sale of CBD products derived from industrial hemp are legal. Following the 2014 Farm Bill, Gov. Mike Pence signed IC 15-15-13, the Industrial Hemp Act, into law in 2014. This act authorized the Office of the Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner to provide licenses for the cultivation of industrial hemp crops for research purposes in partnership with Purdue University. The legislation did not provide for consumers to access hemp products.
In 2017, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed HB 1148, which legalized the use of CBD oil that contained less than 0.3% THC for eligible patients. Individuals diagnosed with uncontrollable seizures and those whose symptoms resisted traditional therapies were able to use hemp-derived CBD, although the law didn't specify a way for patients to access it.
The ambiguity of HB 1148 led to a new law that broadened consumer access to CBD and clarified regulations regarding its sale. Gov. Holcomb signed SB 52 in March 2018, allowing the use and sale of CBD for any purpose so long as it contained less than 0.3% THC by weight.
In addition, the product can only be distributed and sold in Indiana if it has been batch tested by an independent testing laboratory, and is packaged with information on the label or a QR code divulging:
- Product name
- Manufacturer name
- Expiration date
- Batch number
- Total batch size
- Batch date
- The total quantity of cannabis extract per product
- A scannable link to certification of analysis for 0.3% THC content or less
- A statement confirming that the product contains 0.3% THC content or less by weight.
After the passing of the Farm Bill, Indiana lawmakers swiftly drafted and passed SB 516. SB 516 further aligned Indiana's terminology with that of the federal government and banned smokable CBD flower. However, there are no rules at present in Indiana that ban the use of CBD in food, beverages, or cosmetics.
Licensing requirements for CBD
SB 516 established the Indiana Hemp Advisory Committee to provide the Indiana Seed Commissioner with advice regarding the licensing, fees, labeling, testing, and research requirements for hemp.
Currently, hemp farms operate under regulations created by Indiana State Chemist and Seed Commissioner's office per the 2014 Industrial Hemp Act. The commissioner's office is drafting new rules to revise the Indiana Hemp Statute following the passage of SB 516 and has indicated that it may have regulations in place for a 2020 commercial hemp crop season.
Only individuals with a license from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist are authorized to grow industrial hemp crops or to process hemp products. The yields of those who grow without licenses will be defined as marijuana, and violators may be prosecuted. The cultivation of cannabis without a license is punishable by tiers of incarceration and fines.
Licenses are currently issued under the regulations outlined in the Industrial Hemp Act until the new regulations are adopted. General growers licenses will be made available in 2020. Those who apply must provide applications that include the GPS coordinates of the property, written consent for a background check along with the applicable fee, and a signed statement that the applicant has not been convicted of any drug-related felony or misdemeanor in the previous ten years.
Indiana CBD possession limits
Any Indiana consumer may possess hemp-derived CBD products as long as the product meets the legal definition of 0.3% THC or less by weight. There are no hemp-derived CBD possession limits in Indiana.
The possession of cannabis-derived CBD or CBD with more than the legal amount of THC per weight is illegal in Indiana.
The first possession offense is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 180 days incarceration and a $1,000 fine. Those who have been convicted of a prior drug offense and found in possession of up to 30 grams, or 1.06 ounces, may be charged with a class A misdemeanor, receive up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
Possession of more than 30 grams, or 1.06 ounces, and subsequent offenses are a class D felony, which earns violators between six months and 2.5 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine.
Where to buy CBD in Indiana
Indiana consumers can purchase hemp-derived CBD products as long as they are adequately packaged and contain the legal amount of THC. CBD products are available both in-store and through online vendors. Typically, Indiana shoppers will find CBD products at a CBD-specific store and pharmacies or grocers such as Walgreens or Whole Foods.
When purchasing from a storefront, particularly if the store specializes in CBD, you can receive guidance from an employee. Explain what you're looking for, your reasons for consuming CBD, and they can point you in the right direction.
Indiana residents can also purchase hemp-derived CBD online, usually through specific brands' websites. You can also find verified CBD brands on Weedmaps. Reputable brands will generally provide you with essential product details, including the form of the CBD (such as oil, capsules, topicals, tinctures, etc.), the quantity of CBD the product contains, the other chemicals or ingredients present in the product, and more.
While many online checkout systems support US-based CBD sellers, some companies like Paypal consider CBD a “restricted business” and don't support online sales. Confirm the websites' checkout system before purchasing CBD online.
How to read CBD labels and packaging
The 2018 Farm Bill shifted the oversight of hemp and hemp-derived products from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not presently allow CBD-infused food, drinks, or dietary supplements to be sold, and hasn't yet provided regulations for hemp-derived CBD products.
Still, the agency warns that regulations in flux still require companies to make legitimate claims on their labels. Buyers should nonetheless approach CBD products with caution. A CBD product should clearly state what kind of CBD is used. Full-spectrum CBD oil means the extract contains cannabis-derived terpenes and trace amounts of cannabinoids such as THC. Broad-spectrum also includes other cannabis compounds but has had THC removed during the processing phase. CBD isolate is a pure crystalline powder containing only CBD.
Most reputable CBD producers typically include the following information on their CBD product labels:
- Amount of active CBD per serving.
- Supplement Fact panel, including other ingredients.
- Net weight.
- Manufacturer or distributor name.
- Suggested use.
- Full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, or isolate.
- Batch or date code.