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INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s attorney general released a legal opinion in January that THC-based products like CBD, with some exceptions, are Schedule 1 drugs.

However, CBD manufacturers and sellers like Shadi Khory disagree with Rokita’s opinion, and he said that people like him have been under an unnecessary microscope from law enforcement.

“For two years the attorney general tried to push legislation that banned Delta-8 and CBD products and THC products, and he’s failed at that,” Khory said to Indy Politics. “Now it just seems like he is trying to take matters into his own hands.”

Rokita’s office denies ever pushing such legislation.

Khory says Rokita’s opinion has led to law enforcement officers across the state “raiding” and essentially making anyone operating a CBD-based store feel like a criminal.

Delta-8 and CBD are derivatives of cannabis plants. Delta-8 has trace amounts of THC in it. However, Delta-8 is not the chemical compound in pot that gets you high. That is actually Delta-9 THC. Delta-8 is legal to sell in Indiana, along with CBD which is also not a psychoactive drug like full-fledged marijuana.

“They are not Schedule 1 drugs,” Khory said of both products. “They are protected under state and federal law.”

Rokita, in his opinion, suggests that “Delta-8 THC meets the statutory definition of a controlled substance” under Indiana code, “both in its natural and synthetic forms.” For Rokita, it’s mostly about the production of synthetic products from hemp.

“Like making meth from cold medicine, just because the starting materials are legal does not make the resulting product legal (or safe),” Rokita said in his opinion.

Khory said ever since Rokita released his opinion, he has had incidents where colleagues of his in the same business have been getting visits from law enforcement.

“There have been several counties across the state where the prosecutors and the police are coming in and telling people they are criminals,” he said. “As a business owner, if you manufacturer these products, a lot of my shops aren’t wanting to carry it anymore because it’s too risky.”

Rokita’s office tells WIBC that if there are any law enforcement officers or prosecutors telling CBD stores to remove any products, it’s not at the behest of the attorney general’s office. 

Michael Renschler owns Cloud City Vapor in Evansville. Eight months after Rokita’s opinion was released, he told WISH-TV that he got a visit from law enforcement in Vanderburgh County who said there were several products in his store that he could no longer sell and that if he didn’t empty the shelves he’d be charged with a crime.

He said this has hurt his business significantly.

Khory said that it doesn’t make any sense that it’s not against state law in Indiana to charge someone with a crime based on an attorney general’s opinion.

A statement from Todd Rokita’s office:
“We were asked by law enforcement for our legal advice on Indiana law as passed by the elected General Assembly. We are confident in that opinion, which notes the exception for Delta-9 THC under 0.3%. Businesses who sell synthetic products or products with a higher concentration of Delta-9 THC could be in jeopardy at the discretion of their county prosecutor. Those concerned with the current law can contact their state legislators and senators.”