Looks like it is a race to the growroom among states these days as medical marijuana and decriminalization measures continue to make waves in legislatures across the nation even if the wake of tough regulatory laws and federal shenanigans. Hot on the heels of medical marijuana rumblings in Massachusetts, we are now getting word that the great debate is coming to Indiana.

In a couple of weeks, a committee of Indiana lawmakers will carefully examine the status of marijuana law in the state and consider several policy shifts. What is surprising is the range of changes being considered; everything from medical marijuana to full legalization is being looked at. The particular issues getting the most attention will be:

  • Marijuana and its effect on the Indiana criminal justice system.
  • Whether the possession and use of marijuana should continue to be illegal in Indiana and, if so, which penalties and amounts pertaining to marijuana possession and use are appropriate.
  • Whether a program for medical marijuana should be implemented in Indiana and, if so, under what parameters.
  • Whether marijuana should be treated and controlled like alcohol, with controlled and regulated sales, and special taxation.

Democratic Senator Karen Tallian has pushed for the commission’s creation to deal with what she calls Indiana’s “draconian” marijuana laws. Indeed, in the Hoosier state, possession of under 30 grams of cannabis, and even mere paraphernalia possession can a land a person in prison for up to a year. “One day, I watched three young kids plead cases on possession of small amounts,” Tallian said. “I thought, `Why are we spending all of the time and money to do this?’ Frankly, I put marijuana in the same category as alcohol.”

Senator Tallian is also preparing a compelling schedule of testimony to convince her fellow lawmakers. “I’ve got testimony from all different groups,” she said. “They keep calling me wondering when it’s going to be. I had them lined up when the bill was in the senate—medical people, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement. There are a wide range of people interested in the topic.”

Marijuana reform also has an unlikely ally in conservative Republican Rep. Tom Knollman. The Congressman suffers from multiple sclerosis and has stated that he wishes he could legally try to use marijuana to deal with his pain.

By: Marijuana News