Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill (left) listens as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, right, speaks to members of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, Nov. 6, 2017, in Indianapolis. (Darron Cummings, Associated Press)

Indiana Attorney General returns opinion: CBD oil illegal except for epileptic patients

INDIANAPOLIS — A marijuana-derived oil that’s used as medicine for treating people with epilepsy is illegal in Indiana with one limited exception, the state’s attorney general said Tuesday in an advisory opinion.

The opinion from Attorney General Curtis Hill states that substances containing cannabidiol, or CBD, are illegal to possess, make and sell in Indiana under both state and federal law. He said in a statement that police officers can seize any “substance containing cannabidiol – or anything packaged as such.”

Related: Indiana irony: Law allowing CBD oil sparked crackdown, restricting patient access

The sole exception is that CBD products can be used by people with epilepsy who are on a new state registry, his opinion says.

“Only upon showing that one meets the limited conditions under Indiana law could one expect to avoid being prosecuted under Indiana law,” Hill said.

When Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation into law in April that created that registry he said it was about “empathy” for certain epilepsy patients.

But Hill’s non-binding advisory opinion leaves unclear how patients on that registry would be able to obtain CBD since it would be illegal to sell it in Indiana.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long said Tuesday that legislators will have to review the attorney general’s opinion before deciding whether to revise the law during the new legislative session that starts in January.

But Long said the intent of the law was to allow medical use of CBD oil and that those needing it have to be able to buy it.

In the months after the law took effect, Indiana State Excise Police confiscated the product from nearly 60 stores, stating that the law only allowed those on the registry to have CBD.

That contradicted a 2014 industrial hemp law that Indiana State Police and CBD advocates say legalized the substance as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC.

State Excise Police eventually stopped seizing CBD products but waited to return them until “results of further lab testing are received and the legal analysis pursuant to Indiana law is complete.”

Hill, a Republican who took office in January, has been an outspoken opponent of medical marijuana and has pointed out the dangers of addiction and impaired driving.

In an op-ed piece, he wrote that Indiana should not follow other states in “flirting with the folly of legalizing marijuana” and said “Indiana lawmakers should stand firm in their resolve to keep our state on a better path.”