A federal judge has thrown out Indiana’s ban on smokable hemp, calling it unconstitutional for states to ban one type of hemp because they can’t easily distinguish it from marijuana.
The judge sided with the Midwest Hemp Council and seven Indiana hemp wholesalers that sued over Indiana’s July law banning smokable hemp products.
The hemp manufacturers argued that because the 2018 Farm Bill authorized all forms of hemp, states can’t keep one form of hemp illegal.
Smokable hemp flower is one of the most in-demand hemp products in the industry. But law enforcement officials in several states have complained that smokable hemp looks and smells too much like marijuana to adequately enforce.
Inconvenient but unconstitutional
Law enforcement’s confusion over hemp versus marijuana doesn’t mean states can consider some forms of hemp a controlled substance, wrote U.S. District Judge Sarah Evan Barker.
“The fact that local law enforcement may need to adjust tactics and training in response to changes in federal law is not a sufficient basis for enacting unconstitutional legislation,” she wrote.
She granted an immediate injunction blocking the law, saying the companies shouldn’t have to wait to find out how much a smokable-hemp ban would cost them and then sue later.
“The likely unconstitutional portions of the statute cannot be easily measured or reliably calculated, given the novelty of the hemp industry in Indiana and the dearth of historical sales data to use as a baseline fo