A federal court has decided to overturn the decision of a lower one that stopped Indiana from criminalizing smokable hemp. In 2019, a court ruled that banning smokable hemp went against the laws set in place by the 2018 Farm Bill.
Indiana was trying to ban smokable hemp to be able to control marijuana use and make the distinction easier on law enforcement. The similar smell and appearance of hemp and marijuana has caused many problems for law enforcement since hemp became a legal commodity.
The new ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit stated that the 2018 Farm Bill only dictates what states can do to regulate hemp in regards to transportation. The law requires states to allow hemp to be transported through a state’s borders, but the state is free to make more restrictive laws itself about hemp.
“We are pleased that the appeals court upheld Indiana’s criminal prohibition on the manufacture and possession of smokable hemp,” said Attorney General Curtis Hill. “The court has rightly recognized Indiana’s authority to enforce this law.”
Once the federal appeals court issues a mandate, Indiana’s hard-fought-for law will take effect. The waiting time is expected to be several weeks before this can happen.