Indiana lawmakers are set to discuss the possibility of decriminalizing THC-rich cannabis and tightening regulations on hemp-derived THC, reports the Indiana Capital Chronicle.
Together, cannabis and THC are one of several topics a summer study committee will discuss, and may or may not result in legislation. The committee will look at the issue through a public health lens, assessing potential health benefits and consequences of delta-8, delta-9, and other THC products.
“While lawmakers said total marijuana decriminalization is on the table for debate, they will also explore restrictions around the sale of products like delta-8, including age requirements for purchasing,” Casey Smith wrote for the Chronicle.
“While lawmakers said total marijuana decriminalization is on the table for debate, they will also explore restrictions around the sale of products like delta-8, including age requirements for purchasing.”
— Casey Smith, Indiana Capital Chronicle
Delta-9 THC is the most well-known form of THC, and generally what people are talking about when they refer to THC.
Delta-8 is also produced by cannabis plants, in much smaller amounts. It has a similar molecular structure to delta-9 THC and produces a similar effect in the body.
Federal hemp legislation allows hemp to have up to 0.3 percent delta-9 THC.
Isomers including delta-8 and delta-10 aren’t explicitly regulated at the federal level and, as such, are widely considered legal.
State laws vary. In Indiana, hemp-derived THC is legal as long as it’s under the 0.3% delta-9 limit. Hemp flower is not legal, and the state doesn’t allow medical or recreational use of delta-9 cannabis.
Indiana senators introduced a bill in January to effectively ban delta-8 and delta-10. The House amended it, proposing that a legislative study committee research the issue and make a recommendation on whether a ban is appropriate.
“As it came out of the Senate, there was a prohibition on delta-8 THC in the bill,” House Rep. Gregory Steuerwald (R) said in March. “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.”
Fast forward to now, and the topic has grown to include potential decriminalization of delta-9 cannabis.
“We would love to see (lawmakers) find out how beneficial all this stuff is, and use it, potentially, as a pathway for decriminalization and medicinal use,” Frank Lloyd, a board member at Indiana’s chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, told the Chronicle.
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb said he doesn’t support statewide legalization until federal cannabis laws change, according to the Chronicle.
“I don’t question the potential positive impact it could have, but this needs to be done lawfully,” Holcomb said.
Federal legalization might not be that far off. Reporters covering national politics have said it could still happen this year. The US House passed a federal decriminalization bill in April and the Senate just introduced its own. Even if neither of these become law, they’re steps on the path to eventual legalization, which is generally seen as a question of when, not if.