Last Update: January 14, 2015

It’s time for Indiana to provide safe access for seriously ill patients

The 2015 legislative session is underway, and with it comes another opportunity for lawmakers to improve the lives of thousands of seriously ill Hoosiers who deserve to be treated with dignity – not treated as criminals. This year, Sen. Karen Tallian is sponsoring SB 284, a compassionate bill which would allow patients to use and safely access medical cannabis, as is the case in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Please ask your representative and senator to support this important bill, which can provide relief to thousands of Hoosiers.

There are other ways to help, such as subscribing to our email alerts and forwarding them to friends and family and submitting letters to the editor of your local paper. Also, if you are a current or former law enforcement officer, or someone who has suffered negative consequences from a marijuana arrest, such as a lost job or denial of benefits, please email us, as your voice could be particularly persuasive. Please include your 9-digit zip code in your email so we can look up your state legislators.

Learn about Indiana's marijuana laws

Indiana has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country. Possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000. Sadly, almost 90% of all reported burglaries, including home invasions, and over 85% of all motor vehicle thefts go unsolved, according to the state-based reports from Indiana state law enforcement to the FBI for the year 2012. During the same year, law enforcement devoted valuable time and resources to either arresting or citing over 9,000 individuals for marijuana-related offenses, 86% of which were for possession.

African Americans often bear the brunt of unfair enforcement of marijuana prohibition policies, and in Indiana, African Americans are over three times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana than their white counterparts, even though blacks and whites consume marijuana at similar rates. For more information on how the war on marijuana is often waged unequally, check out this report by the ACLU.

Please consider asking your legislators to support legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. This fiscally sound approach would increase freedom, end the possibility of disparities in enforcement of possession, re-direct law enforcement resources to real crime, and allow the state to control and generate revenue from this lucrative product.

Stay connected

Thank you for supporting MPP. To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Indiana, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service.

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