Federal Judge Says Indiana’s Ban On Smokable Hemp Is Unconstitutional


A federal judge in Indiana ruled final week that the state’s law banning smokable types of hemp is unconstitutional and has issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement of the statute. In a ruling issued on September 13, Judge Sarah Evans Barker of the Southern District of Indiana stated that Indiana’s law prohibiting the manufacturing, financing, delivery, and possession of smokable hemp is preempted by federal law.

Barker wrote in her ruling that enforcing the law would result in “irreparable harm in the kind of a credible threat of criminal sanctions” without the need of a preliminary injunction.

The federal government legalized hemp and removed the crop and all hemp goods from the nation’s list of controlled substances with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill in December. But when Indiana passed Senate Bill 516 earlier this year to regulate hemp agriculture in the state, it integrated the ban on smokable types of hemp flower.

Smokable Hemp Confusing Cops

The legalization of hemp has led to a proliferation of smokable goods that are usually wealthy in CBD, like dried hemp flower and pre-rolled joints. But the immense recognition of the goods has led some states to ban smokable types of hemp, arguing that law enforcement can’t readily ascertain if a substance is hemp or marijuana.

Barker ruled that the confusion was not a legal justification for treating some types of hemp as a controlled substance, writing that “the reality that nearby law enforcement could will need to adjust techniques and education in response to modifications in federal law is not a enough basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation”

The judge also issued an instant injunction to block enforcement of the smokable hemp provisions in Senate Bill 516, saying that the plaintiffs, all but one particular of whom are Indiana corporations that sell hemp goods, must not have to wait to ascertain how considerably business enterprise was lost to the smokable hemp ban and file a lawsuit later.

“The probably unconstitutional portions of the statute can’t be quickly measured or reliably calculated, given the novelty of the hemp sector in Indiana and the dearth of historical sales information to use as a baseline for calculating lost revenues,” Barker wrote.

Jim Decamp, the owner of Owlslee CBD in downtown Indianapolis, told nearby media that although he understands the issues of law enforcement, he supports Judge Barker’s ruling.

“I do not know the answer to that problem, but I really feel like the added benefits that consumers get from THC-totally free hemp flower is a thing that they actually want and will need,” Decamp stated.

Two other states, Louisiana and Texas, have also banned smokable types of hemp and North Carolina is thinking about a comparable measure. Tennessee has banned the sale of smokable hemp to minors.


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