Many Bloomington stores faced a predicament after Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced in November that cannabidiol products were illegal in almost all circumstances.
The businesses had to decide whether to keep the product on their shelves or not.
At first, most store owners decided to take the product, which can be used to treat chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, autism and epilepsy, off the shelf.
A week later, Gov. Eric Holcomb told Indiana State Excise Police they had 60 days “to educate, inform and issue warnings to retailers.” He also told police to give retailers enough time to remove CBD products from their shelves.
Since then, some Bloomington stores put CBD oil back on their shelves.
As they await the passage of legislation in the Indiana General Assembly, many Bloomington stores have continued to sell CBD-related products. Store owners and employees said they’ve seen many customers who come in specifically for products with CBD.
The state House of Representatives passed two bills in recent weeks involving CBD oil and industrial hemp, a product similar to CBD with low THC levels. The Senate also passed a bill that would legalize the use of THC hemp extract as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent of THC.
The bills now head to opposite chambers for discussion and eventual votes.
Bloomington stores sell a variety of CBD products and brands.
Panacea Pharmacy, located inside Lucky’s Market, sells a brand called Seven, which is a water-soluble hemp CBD oil. Danielle Lagenour, a pharmacy technician, said the pharmacy carries one that is safe for pets and one that is not.
Lagenour said although CBD products tend to be on the pricier side, there is no hurt in trying them.
“Many people say it’s better than prescription drugs,” Lagenour said. “There’s no real side effects.”
At B-Town Botanicals, owner Jesse Bunnell sells everything from gummies to cough syrup to pain cream to dog treats — all containing some form of CBD. The dosages also vary, starting at 100 milligrams.
Bunnell said he started selling the product last fall, and since then, has seen many customers come in specifically for CBD products.
He said people come in with pain, anxiety or depression. He’s also had parents bring in children with autism who were nonverbal and can now speak because of CBD.
Bunnell said anyone who does want to purchase the product should do a lot of research beforehand.
“You should try to find a product that is sourced locally,” Bunnell said.
Bloomingfoods sells a brand called Plus CBD Oil. Their products vary depending on dosage and the means of taking it, but Bloomingfoods sells everything from sprays to balms to capsules. The price ranges from $40 to $115, depending on the dosage and type of product.
For anyone wishing to come in and buy CBD oil, grocery department manager Martha Philion said she recommends customers do their own research. She said many people come into Bloomingfoods not knowing exactly what type of CBD oil or what dosage they should purchase.
“I don’t want to be the prescriber,” she said.
Holcomb announced Jan. 26 he would extend the education period for CBD oil, allowing legislators to have more time to clarify the current Indiana law.
He added he would delay the process of issuing citations or removing CBD products from retailers until after the current session ends.
Bunnell has been active in supporting the passage of CBD legislation. He spoke at a rally Feb. 1 in support of the legislation at the Indiana Statehouse.
“I’ve been trying to get the word out that the product is legal,” Bunnell said.
He said there’s a stigma surrounding CBD oil and people are often afraid to use it. He said some people worry they will feel different, or high, once they take it, but that’s not true.
Philion said many customers would be disappointed if CBD were to come off the shelves forever. She said she’s seen many people who have come up to her or another employee and said CBD is the only reason they can sleep or feel less anxious.
“But we’ll obey the law,” Philion said. “There’s not really a law to obey right now.”
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