Indiana’s Cannabinoid Legislative History

Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) –

Allowed states to operate pilot programs regulating hemp production.

SEA 357 (2014)

Industrial hemp. Subject to federal approval, authorizes the state seed commissioner to license the cultivation and production of industrial hemp. Establishes requirements to obtain a license. Authorizes inspections by the state police and audits by the state seed commissioner. Provides that in addition to any other liability or penalty, the state seed commissioner may revoke or refuse to renew a license and may impose a civil penalty. Requires the state seed commissioner to apply for necessary permissions, waivers, or other forms of legal status by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency or other appropriate federal agency that are necessary to implement the law. Makes a conforming amendment to the definition of “marijuana”. 

SEA 291 (2016)

Industrial hemp. Removes provisions that: (1) allow a grower to retain seed from an industrial hemp crop for the following year; (2) exempt a grower from obtaining an agricultural hemp seed production license in order to retain seed for future planting; and (3) provide that seed retained by a grower may not be sold or transferred and is not required to meet the state seed commissioner’s agricultural hemp seed standards.

HEA 1148 (2017)

Cannabidiol and treatment resistant epilepsy. Defines “cannabidiol” and “substance containing cannabidiol” and establishes a cannabidiol registry for certain persons for the use of a substance containing cannabidiol in the treatment of an individual with treatment resistant epilepsy. Requires the state department of health to maintain the registry. Provides that the offense of possession of paraphernalia applies to the possession of certain items used in connection with lawfully possessed cannabidiol. Establishes defenses to: (1) possession of marijuana; and (2) an allegation that a person has violated a condition of supervised release; if the charge or violation is based on the use of a substance containing cannabidiol.

SEA 52 (2018)

Low THC hemp extract. Provides that the Indiana department of state revenue (department) shall revoke a registered retail merchant’s certificate if the department finds that the person has been convicted of dealing in marijuana based on the sale of fraudulently labeled low THC hemp extract. Repeals all provisions concerning the cannabidiol registry and a “substance containing cannabidiol” (all added by HEA 1148-2017). Defines “low THC hemp extract” as a product: (1) derived from Cannabis sativa L. that meets the definition of industrial hemp; (2) that contains not more than 0.3% delta-9-THC (including precursors); and (3) that contains no other controlled substances. Establishes testing, packaging, and labeling requirements for the distribution and retail sale of low THC hemp extract, effective July 1, 2018. Provides that a retailer commits dealing in marijuana as a Level 5 felony if: (1) the retailer sells marijuana; (2) the marijuana is packaged in a manner that appears to be low THC extract; and (3) the retailer knows or reasonably should know that the product is marijuana. Makes possession of marijuana a Class A misdemeanor if: (1) the marijuana is packaged in a manner that appears to be low THC hemp extract; and (2) the person knows or reasonably should know that the product is marijuana. Urges the legislative council to assign to an appropriate interim study committee the task of studying the regulation of industrial hemp, industrial hemp products, and low THC hemp extract manufacturing.

Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) –

Authorized the production of hemp and removed hemp and hemp seeds from the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) schedule of Controlled Substances. It also directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to issue regulations and guidance to implement a program to create a consistent regulatory framework around production of hemp throughout the United States. The establishment of hemp as a regulated commodity also paves the way for U.S. hemp farmers to participate in other USDA farm programs.

SEA 516 (2019)

Regulation of hemp. Establishes the Indiana hemp advisory committee (committee) to provide advice to the office of the state seed commissioner (commissioner) regarding Indiana’s hemp laws. Sunsets the committee on July 1, 2021. Prohibits the commissioner from regulating a hemp product. Changes references from “industrial hemp” to “hemp” and amends the definition of hemp. Adds a definition of “hemp product”. Allows for aerial inspection of hemp crops. Removes the limitation on the number of inspections that the state police department may conduct on a licensed hemp operation. Allows the commissioner to perform a criminal background check of an applicant for a hemp license or agricultural hemp seed production license. Establishes a uniform expiration date for hemp licenses and agricultural hemp seed production licenses. Requires a person who sells agricultural hemp to have a seed distribution permit. Provides that: (1) the commissioner may revoke the hemp license of a licensee who fails to cooperate with the commissioner, the state police, a federal law enforcement agency, or a local law enforcement agency in an inspection of the licensee’s crop; and (2) the failure to cooperate constitutes probable cause for the commissioner, state police, federal law enforcement agency, or local law enforcement agency to search the premises of the licensee’s hemp operation. Provides that, if the state police department, a federal law enforcement agency, or a local law enforcement agency cooperates with the commissioner in the detention, seizure, or embargo of a hemp crop, the state police department, federal law enforcement agency, or local law enforcement agency is immune from civil liability for the detention, seizure, or embargo. Provides that a hemp grower shall reimburse the commissioner for the cost of testing conducted on the grower’s crop. Allows the commissioner to order a hemp crop that is detained, seized, or embargoed for noncompliance to be destroyed by the owner. Subject to federal law, allows the commissioner to divert for processing a hemp crop that is detained, seized, or embargoed. Establishes requirements for a licensed handler to distribute clones and other nonseed propagative material. Provides that the commissioner may enter into agreements with laboratories selected by the Indiana state police department to perform testing of hemp samples. Requires any civil penalties collected under the hemp law to be transferred to the Indiana state department of agriculture and used for hemp marketing and research purposes. Provides that, in addition to payment of any civil penalty imposed by the commissioner, a person who violates certain requirements shall reimburse the commissioner for any costs incurred by the commissioner for laboratory testing of material pertaining to the violation. Allows negligent violations of the hemp law to be corrected without a penalty. Allows the commissioner to adopt emergency rules to comply with federal requirements. Establishes procedures by which the commissioner shall apply to the United States Department of Agriculture for approval of Indiana’s hemp regulation. Requires a person who sells hemp to: (1) be licensed in Indiana and in the jurisdiction in which the hemp is grown; and (2) provide certain information to the buyer. Provides that hemp bud and hemp flower may be sold only to a licensed hemp processor and that the commissioner may assess a civil penalty of not more than $2,500 for a violation. Provides that a person who knowingly or intentionally violates: (1) a term, condition, or requirement of a hemp license; or (2) a rule adopted under the hemp law; is subject to a civil penalty and possible license revocation. Provides that growing or handling hemp or selling hemp seed without a license is a Class A misdemeanor. Prohibits a local government unit from adopting or enforcing an ordinance that restricts or regulates the growth, production, or processing of hemp. Provides that the cannabidiol percent present in low THC hemp extract be certified. Provides a criminal penalty for dealing, manufacturing, financing, or possessing smokable hemp. Specifies that financial institutions, agencies, and instrumentalities of the state or the United States are not subject to certain crimes concerning financing the manufacture or distribution of smokable hemp. Allows the court to defer judgment on a crime concerning smokable hemp and dismiss charges if certain conditions are met. Makes conforming changes. Removes expired provisions. 

SEA 335 (2020)

Provides a defense to a “smokable hemp” offense if the hemp is carried in continuous transit from a licensed producer in another state through Indiana to a licensed handler in another state. Makes conforming amendments, reconciles conflicts, and makes technical corrections.