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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

EDITORIAL: State should go all in or all out on medical marijuana

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press
Thursday, September 14, 2017 12:01 am

So, you have a medical condition that has been resistant to conventional medical treatments. You've heard about some promising tests involving cannabidiol — or CBD — the marijuana-derived oil that can't get people high but is believed by many to have valid medical uses.

Are you good? Can you just go get the stuff and use it without fear of legal recrimination? Or is it such a public menace that authorities are going to get every last drop of it out of circulation, harshly threatening the providers in the process?

Good luck with an answer. Nobody knows the legal status of CBD in Indiana, including the geniuses in the General Assembly who cobble together our laws.

The trouble started when legislators got pressure from epilepsy sufferers and their supporters, who made a good case that the disease could be effectively treated without causing great harm to the public. In a conservative state like Indiana, though, lawmakers didn't want to go all out in support of medical marijuana, so they approved the use of CBD for epilepsy only. To get the oil, recipients had to be diagnosed with treatment-resistant epilepsy, and the product had to contain less than less than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound in marijuana that produces a high.

Enter the excise police, the law enforcement arm of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, bless their hearts. They decided that authorization of CBD for epilepsy meant it was illegal for any other use. Before passage of the law, they hadn't issued a single violation to stores selling CBD. After passage, they raided 57 stores across the state, confiscating more than 3,000 products.

Then abruptly stopped their crackdown. It turns out that a 2014 law removed industrial hemp products from the state's controlled substance statute. That may very well have legalized CBD in Indiana for all uses. Or maybe it didn't. No one is quite sure, so the attorney general promises a thorough investigation and a definitive answer.

If members of the General Assembly manage to stop acting like stoned teenagers long enough, we'd recommend a course of action to them. Medical marijuana is either a valid approach or it is not. Pick one, then go all in our all out. When you tip your toes in the water, it might take longer, but you still get wet. 

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