Multiple cannabis businesses have opened up around Bloomington in the last few years. These businesses — also called dispensaries — sell different types of cannabis products to people over the age of 21.
They sell candies, baked goods and vapes which contain THC and CBD. These are known as cannabinoids, chemicals found in the marijuana plant that are responsible for the “high” that consumers experience.
Although marijuana is considered illegal in Indiana, The Hemp Farming Act, which passed through Congress in 2018, determined a cannabis product with less than 0.3% THC is not legally considered marijuana.
The Hemp Farming Act changed the law regulating the production of hemp, the plant from which all cannabis products originate. It removed hemp from the definition of marijuana, which is a Schedule 1 drug, the group of drugs considered to be most illegal. This change made it so that hemp could be grown as a legitimate agricultural product in Indiana.
Delta 8 THC and Delta 10 THC are cannabinoids that occur in small amounts in the hemp plant. These products are manufactured by concentrating these chemicals into higher doses, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
“If you are thinking of light beer, this is like a light version of cannabis. You aren’t going to get crazy intoxicated,” Jordan Edwards, a sales representative at Bell Family Dispensary, said.
The Bloomington Police Department deals with marijuana possession on a case-by-case basis. There is no overall policy that applies to every situation, Bloomington Police Department Captain Ryan Pedigo said.
Regardless if the cannabis product someone is using is legal, they can still be charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated if they fail field sobriety tests, Pedigo said.
In Marion County, Indiana — the county surrounding Indianapolis — possession of small amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized. Monroe County Prosecutor Erika Oliphant has expressed interest in a similar policy, but she has said she cannot issue a policy of refusing to prosecute marijuana charges, according to the Herald Times.
There are currently four businesses listed as cannabis stores in Bloomington. One of them is Hope’s Organics, co-owned by Roderick Lane.
“When you come into our store, we are trying to give you an experience — an educational experience,” Lane said.
Some businesses sell nicotine products as well as cannabis products.
“That’s kind of the problem with the market. There’s a lack of knowledge,” Lane said. “We believe that through education, we can change opinions about the plant.”
Currently, recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states, including Michigan and Illinois. Indiana is one of 14 states where it is illegal, both medically and recreationally.
Under the Indiana Criminal Code, possession of less than 30 grams of marijuana is a Class-B misdemeanor that can carry a charge of 180 days in jail and a fine up to $1000.