Hemp, removed from the controlled substances list in 2018, is now legal to grow in the U.S. Indiana’s climate and soil make for a perfect growing environment.
A federal appeals court overturned a lower court’s order halting a 2019 Indiana law that criminalizes smokable hemp.
Indiana legislators last year passed a law legalizing the commercial production of hemp and setting up a regulatory process. The law also banned smokable hemp. Anyone who knowingly possesses, manufactures or delivers smokable hemp can be charged with a misdemeanor under the law.
At the time, the state argued that if smokable hemp is legalized in Indiana, it would make enforcing the state’s laws against marijuana more difficult since the two smell and look similar.
Unlike marijuana, hemp has very low concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the substance in marijuana that makes a consumer feel high. Hemp can be used to produce CBD oil, food grade oil, hemp milk, protein powder, rope, clothing and paper. Some people prefer smoking the CBD-containing plant.
A group of Indiana hemp sellers sued over the law criminalizing smokable hemp, requesting an injunction on the grounds that the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the plant and redefined it as an agricultural commodity. A district court judge granted the injunction.
Courts: Federal judge rules Indiana abortion law ‘unconstitutionally vague’
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled this week that the 2018 Farm Bill only overrides state law in regards to the interstate transportation of hemp. The court also said the Farm Bill allows states to adopt more stringent rules regarding industrial hemp.
The federal appeals court ruled that the injunction “sweeps too broadly” and ordered the case back to the district court for further proceedings. It also noted that just because the injunction was too broad, “we should not be misunderstood as saying that a properly tailored injunction is not warranted.”
“We are pleased that the appeals court upheld Indiana’s criminal prohibition on the manufacture and possession of smokable hemp,” Attorney General Curtis Hill said in a release. “The court has rightly recognized Indiana’s authority to enforce this law.”
A Hill spokesperson said the law will go into effect once the federal appeals court issues a mandate, which is expected to take approximately three weeks.
IndyStar reporters Emily Hopkins and Sarah Bowman contributed to this story.
Contact IndyStar reporter Elizabeth DePompei at 317-444-6196 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @edepompei.
Read or Share this story: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/local/2020/07/09/hemp-indiana-injunction-law-banning-smokable-hemp-overturned/5407560002/