INDIANAPOLIS – Republican legislative leaders at the Indiana Statehouse say they anticipate they’ll discuss cannabis legislation this session.
Indiana is one of 13 states that has not legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use.
Lawmakers have not shared specifics about their plans, but Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) said he expects potential regulations on delta-8, the chemical compound in hemp, to be included in their discussions.
“I think you’ll see us talk about it this legislative session,” Bray said. “What exactly we’ll end up doing, I’m not prepared to say just yet. It does make some sense to begin to put in some infrastructure, including delta-8, for instance, to try and outline what that would look like and to have some regulation on it.”
Hemp was federally legalized in 2018, but there hasn’t been much regulation surrounding delta-8 products.
At reLEAF Wellness Co. in Fishers, co-owner Mickey Hurley says his team limits sales of delta-8 products to customers age 21 and up, even though the compound provides a weaker high than delta-9 in marijuana.
That’s why he would support some state regulations on the product, such as age restrictions, he said.
“Age of purchasing, perhaps licensing, something like that just to more legitimize it and give the public some assurances of its safety,” Hurley said.
Earlier this year, Republicans backed a bill that would have placed a ban on delta-8, but it died before the last session ended.
Republican legislative leaders have previously expressed opposition to legalizing marijuana, arguing the state shouldn’t take action before the federal government.
Earlier this year, lawmakers held a committee meeting to study the issue.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) told reporters he’s not ruling anything out this session.
“I personally remain skeptical, but I also recognize that people want to have that conversation,” Huston said. “We had it over the summer, and we’ll see what our committee chairs decide.”
Meanwhile, Democrats argue Indiana is overdue to take action on cannabis legislation.
“I say we kick the door wide open,” said Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis). “We should at least put together a commission because the federal government’s going to do something.”
Lawmakers return to the Statehouse January 9.