KOKOMO, Ind. -- People who use and sell CBD oil are feeling the heat in light of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s announcement directing excise police to start checking retailers for products that contain THC.
CBD oil is a nutritional supplement typically used for pain, seizures, inflammation and stress.
At Sunspot Natural Market in Kokomo, CBD oil products were flying off the shelves Tuesday following Holcomb’s announcement that excise police will use the next 60 days to educate and issue warnings to retailers.
“I bought extra because I didn’t want to be without it,” said Sally Smith, a Kokomo resident who takes CBD oil to alleviate nerve pain from MS. “I can now get through my work day without struggling to stay awake or having the brain fog from prescription medicine.”
The two month period is intended to give retailers time to remove any products containing THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets you high.
The governor’s announcement comes a week after the Indiana Attorney General issued an advisory opinion calling CBD oil illegal.
“I think it’s really frustrating,” said Smith. “They’re taking part of our lives and regulating it when they don’t have the right to.”
Supporters of CBD oil maintain the product contains little to no THC because it is derived from industrial hemp.
“The biggest misconception is that CBD oil is pot, that it’s going to get you high,” said Michael Anderson, who owns Sunspot Natural Market in Kokomo. “It’s absolutely not. They’re completely different plants.”
Although some retailers have voluntarily started pulling the products from their shelves, Sunspot does not yet plan to take that step.
“We plan to continue selling it, but we will keep a close eye on what the legislature is doing,” said Anderson. “It’s something that will benefit our customers and we’re going to continue to sell it as long as people are looking for it.”
Tony Willison said stores near Peru are already removing CBD oil from their shelves, so he traveled to Kokomo to get some for his wife with fibromyalgia.
"If it's going to improve her quality of life then why should it not be legal," said Willison.
Austin Rhodus distributes CBD oil to stores across Central Indiana and started a petition, which has gathered more than 10,000 signatures.
"Our products have zero THC," said Rhodus. “There’s really just a lot of misinformation. There’s a lot of verbiage in the state code that needs to be revamped.”
It’s not yet clear if businesses and customers could face tickets or fines for using CBD oil after the 60 day grace period.
“I personally don’t think it will come down to that,” said Rhodus.
Rhodus is working with state lawmakers to clean up the language regarding hemp and CBD oil.
Holcomb said the law protects Hoosiers with epilepsy who use CBD oil products and registered with the Indiana State Department of Health.
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