Witnesses support CBD oil but skeptical of Senate bills

By Emily Ketterer

INDIANAPOLIS–Four years ago, Brandy Barrett’s 11-year-old son could only spend his day in bed with just one activity. Any more than that would result in a seizure until they discovered CBD oil, or cannabidiol.

Barrett’s son Noah suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. Since using CBD oil, he has “the run of the house.”

“The independence he now has is phenomenal and nothing short of miraculous,” Barrett said.

Brandy Barrett testifies early Tuesday morning about CBD oil bills.
Photo by Bryan Wells, TheStatehouseFile.com

Barrett testified against two CBD oil bills Tuesday in the Senate Corrections and Criminal Law committee. Senate Bill 294 would allow the sale of CBD oil by retailers to certain people who suffer from treatment-resistant epilepsy, while SB 52 would allow the sale of CBD oil containing zero THC to all Indiana citizens who need the treatment.

Parents, members of hemp industries, retailers, veterans and three doctors joined Barrett in the hearing to express their support for the general use of CBD oil, but showed skepticism with the regulations the bills would enact.

SB 52 would require the amount of THC in CBD oil be zero. However, doctors said the CBD oil would still maintain a minute amount of THC.

“It is never going to be absolute zero because we don’t have the ability to test to that specificity,” said Dr. James Matthew Andry.

Barrett said the imposed regulations of the CBD sales could still prevent stores from carrying the oil. Retailers would have to keep the oils locked in a cabinet and only sell to people on the specific registry by scanning a card with a unique bar code.

James Andry is one of three doctors who testified early Tuesday about CBD oil bills. Photo by Bryan Wells, TheStatehouseFile.com

“Although my son does have access because he is on the registry, I support access to hemp-derived CBD for all,” Barrett said. “I feel like adding further stipulations to registry is actually going to keep stores from carrying CBD. Most stores are not going to take on these stipulations not knowing if these few people are even going to shop at their stores or not.”

Retailers and hemp oil industries said they benefit financially by selling CBD oil, but they expressed concern about the regulations of SB 294. Tabatha Starr, owner of The Real Food Shoppe in Plainfield, said CBD oil is her store’s best-selling product, but the regulations will stop her from helping people who need it.

“I’m afraid that making CBD more difficult to obtain than opioids and making it financially impossible for stores like myself because now I have to invest in a new scanning device,” Starr said. “You are now forcing these customers to go back on the opioids that they worked so hard to get off of.”

Lawmakers did not vote on either bill Tuesday.

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

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