In the fall of 2015, the Indiana Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee gathered at the Statehouse for yet another study on the potential legalization of cannabidiol oil, or CBD oil, for children with intractable epilepsy. In the back of the room, waiting to testify in support, were the head of the Epilepsy Foundation of Indiana, multiple doctors, and the parents of kids who had found relief from seizures by illegally using CBD oil, an extract derived from the cannabis plant that has no psychoactive properties—it doesn’t get users high.
It proved to be a winning argument—when Republican Senator Jim Tomes introduced a bill to legalize the substance for epileptic patients the following legislative session, it died a quick death in an unfavorable committee. CBD oil supporters were devastated, but they learned from the experience. In subsequent years, armed with new studies showing other health benefits of the oil and emboldened by rising public support, they refined their approach and focused on educating lawmakers. It finally worked. This past March, the legislature passed SB52, legalizing CBD oil for all Hoosiers, a bill that Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law.
The Indianapolis Star and other outlets covered the entire saga, but a piece of related legislation passed with far less media attention. In some ways, it’s a direct result of the efforts on the CBD oil front. Without a single dissenting vote, the House also approved HR-2, calling for a study committee to look into something that would have seemed inconceivable a few years ago: legalizing medical marijuana.
The resulting public outcry caused Governor Holcomb to issue a moratorium and demand that the legislature find a solution during the ensuing session, which they did, overwhelmingly. Of the 144 members of the General Assembly who voted on SB52, only 11 remained, as one lawmaker put it, “sympathetic to the prosecutor’s case.” But as IPAC attorney Negangard feared, it didn’t stop there. With an increasing number of Hoosiers in favor of dismantling more marijuana laws and a study of the curative properties of cannabis underway this summer, CBD oil may be just the beginning.
Read more at Indianapolis