Lawmakers weigh differences between two different Cannabidiol bills

By Kayla Walker
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers from the Indiana House of Representatives and Senate wrangled Thursday over similar bills to legalize cannabidiol treatment for people with epilepsy, but didn’t vote for either one.

They said they would take the discussion up at their next meeting.

A debate on changes to HB 1148 on Cannabidiol and treatment resistant epilepsy and SB 15 on Cannabidiol for the treatment was established in conference committee. Representatives and Senators joined together in making sure both bills clearly state not legalizing marijuana but just allowing CBD oil to be used, not prescribed, in Indiana. Photo by Kayla Walker, TheStatehouseFile.com

Cannabidiol, or CBD is found in the seeds, stalk, and flowers of cannabis plants, such as hemp and marijuana. CBD has been found to minimize seizures in epileptic patients and has a negligible level of tetrahydrocannabinol – THC – the compound that creates the “high” feeling in marijuana.

Both Senate Bill 15 and House Bill 1148 would allow doctors to recommend CBD for patients with epilepsy and creates protections against prosecution for possession for those patients.

The Senate version, though, sets limits for what would constitute a legal dosage of CBD. And the House version would create a registry for users and would require the Indiana Department of Health to maintain the registry.

Much of the discussion focused on the larger issue of legalizing CBD.

“What freaks me out is that we allow doctors to prescribe 90 pills of oxycontin for a two-week period and we won’t let them prescribe a cannabidiol with .03 percent of THC,” said Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, a co-author of HB 1148.

Sen. Erin Houchin, R-Salem, asked if Indiana is making a first step into legalizing marijuana in the future.

“Just seems to me it would be a more responsible approach to narrow and define what we’re trying to do rather than to broadly say it’s a defense to possession of marijuana,” Houchin said.

The committee members said they would discuss the measure again at their next meeting, which has not yet been set.

Kayla Walker is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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