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CBD Oil Passes Senate Again, but Differences With House Remain

Negotiators have till March 14 adjournment to agree on final version

(INDIANAPOLIS) - The House and Senate have eight days to reach a deal to legalize cannabis oil.

The House has unanimously approved two different versions of a bill to legalize CBD oil. Both have passed the Senate by comfortable margins, but the Senate has rejected changes to its original bill. Both chambers will have to vote again once they agree on a final version. 

Both bills legalize CBD oil only if it contains only a tiny percentage of THC, the chemical in marijuana which gets you high. Senate opponents warn the bill not only makes it legal to buy and sell CBD oil, but to manufacture it.  Despite testing and labeling requirements in the Senate version, they argue Indiana doesn't have the regulatory infrastructure to enforce those requirements. And some question whether it has the health benefits supporters claim it does.

Legislators legalized CBD oil last year for treatment of children with certain types of epilepsy, but the bill failed to legalize its sale along with its possession. This year's versions would make the oil available to anyone who wants it, not just epilepsy patients. Supporters argue it's been effective as a non-opioid pain reliever. Opponents dismiss it as "snake oil."

The latest Senate rewrite of the House bill includes a provision requiring bottles of the oil be labeled as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance. That's a category normally reserved for illegal drugs, and Indianapolis Senator Greg Taylor worries that change could sink the whole bill.

(Photo: Joe Amon/Denver Post via Getty Images)

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