When considering states that have the greatest chance of legalizing and regulating marijuana, California is usually the first that comes to mind. However, Indiana may deserve a place near the top of the list as well. State lawmakers are looking into the possibility of either decriminalizing or outright legalizing and regulating marijuana.

On Thursday, a presentation on why marijuana prohibition doesn’t work prepared by a panel of experts was presented to Indiana state lawmakers. The experts stated that Indiana and it’s citizens could very well stand to benefit from not just decriminalizing marijuana, but completely legalizing, regulating and taxing it. “The public recognizes that our marijuana laws have done more harm than good,” Daniel Abrahamson of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Indiana Legislature’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee.

Abrahamson presented an estimate of $44 million a year, which could be raised by taxing regulated marijuana in Indiana. This figure represents only taxes, and does not take into consideration the money the state would save by not arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning people possessing cannabis, which would be a considerably large sum itself. “The federal government cannot require states to make marijuana illegal,” Abrahamson commented. He continued to say that in no instance has a state that has chosen to decriminalize the personal use of cannabis then decided to “re-criminalize” it.

Another expert, Noah Member of the Marijuana Policy Project, says that harsh marijuana laws destroy lives. The laws imprison people for using a substance that is “safer than alcohol”. He suggested that cannabis be legalized and regulated by the state similarly to the way alcohol is, and said that states that have legalized medical marijuana have not seen an increase in the use of marijuana among teenagers.

State Senator Karen Tallian (D-IN) has shown her support of the cause, and disdain for the current marijuana laws, by pushing state lawmakers to study the issue. Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, however, has stated that he will postpone taking a stance on the issue until the panel has a formal finding to report.

By: Marijuana News