Indiana lawmakers disagree about whether to put an end to sales of hemp-derived THC. As they work it out, House legislators proposed tasking a committee with the study of delta-8 THC.
As a bill to ban THC ban moved from Senate to House and back again in January and February, one House Representative said legislators need to know more about delta-8 before considering whether to ban it, according to the Statehouse File.
Senate Proposes Ban
The first draft of Senate Bill 209, introduced in January by Republican Senators Liz Brown and Michael Young, struck all references to “delta-9” in THC concentration limits for hemp. In effect, this would expand the definition of THC to include all forms.
The subtle change in language would make isomers like delta-8 and delta-10 THC illegal. These molecular siblings to delta-9, which have similar though typically milder psychotropic effects, are unregulated in many places. That’s because they’re extracted from hemp and converted to forms of THC that weren’t previously on lawmakers’ radar. They do occur naturally in cannabis, but only in trace amounts.
House Halts Ban, Proposes Study
In late February, the Indiana House passed an amended version of the bill. Instead of a ban, they proposed that a legislative study committee do further research and make a recommendation on whether to ban isomers like delta-8.
“As it came out of the Senate, there was a prohibition on delta-8 THC in the bill,” said House Rep. Gregory Steuerwald (R). “In committee, we took that out and sent it to the summer study committee because there's a lot of confusion on what that is.”
“As it came out of the Senate, there was a prohibition on delta-8 THC in the bill. In committee, we took that out and sent it to the summer study committee because there's a lot of confusion on what that is.”
— Indiana House Rep. Gregory Steuerwald
“This bill was designed to criminalize delta-8,” said Rep. Jim Lucas (R), who has made efforts to decriminalize cannabis in the state and has championed medical cannabis as an alternative to opioids.
Bill Returns to Senate for Further Action
The House returned the amended bill to the Senate, which promptly filed a motion to dissent.
Delta-8 Bans on the Table Across the Nation
In considering a ban on hemp-derived THC, Indiana is among some 20 other states to do so in the last year. Lawmakers in several states, including Kentucky, Washington and Minnesota, are considering bans this legislative session.
But state regulations could be moot if federal legislation is passed banning hemp-derived THC nationwide.
A bill introduced to Congress in February, the Hemp Advancement Act, revises language from the 2018 Farm Bill that put concentration limits on delta-9 THC specifically — doing the same thing Indiana Senators proposed, but on a nationwide scale.
If passed, it could end legal sales of gummies, vapes, and other products made with hemp-derived THC across the nation.