Although it has been said that Indiana would be one of the last states in the nation to pass anything even remotely close to a marijuana-related bill, the state actually put a low-THC medical cannabis program on the books last week for patients suffering from epilepsy.
Earlier this year, Governor Eric Holcomb signed the state’s first medical marijuana bill, which was designed to give patients with certain kinds of seizure disorders the freedom to use a non-intoxicating for of marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD), otherwise known as cannabis oil.
The governor, who is not a supporter of cannabis reform, said he felt confident signing the bill because it “does not put us on a slippery slope to legalizing marijuana.”
Yet, the program is far from a salvation’s wing for people who need cannabis oil to control devastating seizures.
For starters, because anything derived from the cannabis plant remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, families of children (under 18) suffering with this disease will likely experience difficulty finding a doctor willing to so much as discuss the possibility of using CBD treatment, much less write them a recommendation to gain access.
But before potentially thousands of families can even get to the level of discussing cannabis oil with their family doctor, the law requires them to cut some through some bureaucratic red tape. Epilepsy patients must try and fail with at least two prescription seizure medications before a physician can even write a recommendation for medical marijuana.
Despite the fact that Indiana’s CBD law went into effect last week, it is still going to be a while before patients can take full advantage of the state’s ultra-restrictive approach to marijuana medicine.
A recent report from Indiana Public Media indicates that the patient registry will not be available until February 2018.
From there, the law, which requires CBD oil to be manufactured from industrial hemp with less than 0.3 percent THC, allows Indiana pharmacies to dispense the medicine.