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Political Analyst – Derek Thomas
Roughly two months ago, State Police in Indiana raided Fresh Thyme grocery stores across the state and confiscated thousands of dollars’ worth of CBD oil and other CBD products. The shock left communities rattled as customers had grown used to having access to CBD’s and triggered a state-wide debate between law enforcement, agricultural and business communities, and families dealing with debilitating conditions.
The raid sent shockwaves throughout the grocery community as well, as other CBD vendors removed it from their shelves in order to prevent from being raided.
“That obviously got our attention,” said Mr. Montieth – owner of Georgetown Market. He showed local news Channel 13 Investigators a small room near the back of his store where he is now storing CBD oil that has been pulled off shelves. He disagrees with the ATC’s decision to confiscate CBD oil from retailers.
“Until this is resolved, it’s best for us to just support the legal system and do what’s best so we don’t get in trouble,” Montieth told WTHR. “I do think the state and the governor’s office need to understand the difference between medical marijuana CBD and industrial hemp CBD. I think it’s definitely a misunderstanding.”
The curious timing of the raids is even more perplexing, as they come just a few months after Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill creating a CBD registry for epilepsy patients, making the product legal for Hoosiers suffering from treatment-resistant epileptic seizures.
Additionally, the raids contradict the governor's pledge to fight widespread opioid addiction that has gripped families across Indiana. As part of a wide-ranging effort to curb drug abuse and addiction, Gov. Holcomb has indicated a willingness to find creative solutions to battle the state’s growing drug problem when he said “I've just seen case by case by case by case by case where these potent drugs of today are literally hijacking the brains of our fellow citizens. We need to find partnerships and answers.”
Not off to a great start, Governor.
But now, for the first time in over two months, CBD Oil can again be bought at Fresh Thyme grocery stores and other stores across the state.
An apparent change of heart by the Indiana State Excise Police has offered vendors and patients the opportunity to begin selling and healing again, and the entire hoosier state has taken a big breath of relief. Other vendors, whom preemptively cleared their shelves of CBD products across the state have also put CBD products back on the shelves.
The owner of Georgetown Market, a small health food store on the west side of Indianapolis, says his CBD oil sales have been "bananas" since restocking his shelves with CBD.
The state clarified its position by stating:
"CBD oil is not legal to sell or possess in Indiana," an excise spokeswoman told local news station WTHR. "The businesses found in possession are cited ... for the preliminary charges of possession of marijuana and possession of a counterfeit controlled substance."
Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering the CBD Oil in question contained 0% THC, meaning it actually did not violate any of the states controlled substance law.
Additional clarification came as Indiana State Excise Police public information officer Heather Lynch emailed state news stations the following short statement:
“After a review of the situation, the Indiana State Excise police will not confiscate CBD Oil products from the stores unless the products clearly violate Indiana law. We will continue monitoring this issue and remain prepared to take enforcement action whenever appropriate.”
To date, there is no evidence to suggest any of the CBD oil products confiscated from Fresh Thyme violated any law in the first place. Unlike the cannabis plants grown for medical marijuana and containing high levels of THC, the majority of products containing CDB oil come from industrial hemp that has only trace amounts of THC – or none at all.
All vendors have been experiencing increased sales since being back on the shelves. "It's really exciting and I've sold four bottles in just the past few minutes," said Fresh Thyme employee Ashley Beasley. "I'm ordering another shipment now, and we hope to have it in by Friday or Monday."
The Greenwood store has not yet received its confiscated products seized two months ago by excise police, and the company does not know the status of the citations issued by state agents.
This is, of course, a major win for the CBD industry. Indiana is a major market, and with cities like Chicago being suddenly barred access to CBD’s, it hurts the entire industry. As always, the biggest win is for the patients who rely on CBD Oil.