Indiana Legislature concludes without progress
Last update: May 25, 2016
The Indiana General Assembly concluded its 2016 session without making progress on a single marijuana bill. While many bills were introduced by smart and compassionate lawmakers, such as Sen. Karen Tallian’s comprehensive medial marijuana bill, SB 209, not a single one advanced beyond committee. Polls have shown that Hoosiers want a comprehensive medical marijuana program established in Indiana, but the legislature has not been heeding voters’ calls for compassion. Please take a moment to ask your representative and senator to support seriously ill Hoosiers, and ask that they end the mistakes of the past next year.
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia have already enacted effective medical marijuana laws. These laws are working well and protecting patients from arrest, while providing them with much needed care. Studies show that allowing doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients can help those that suffer from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other debilitating illnesses. Let your lawmakers know you want them to implement a medical marijuana program in the Hoosier State.
Also, if you are supportive and are a medical professional, a seriously ill patient who might benefit from medical marijuana, a law enforcement official, a clergy member, or a member of the legal community, or you know someone else who is, please email us, as your voice could be particularly persuasive. Please include your nine-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 most draconian 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.
Given the benefits marijuana policy reform has — from allowing police to focus on real crime, to raising revenue through legalization and taxation, to improving seriously ill patients’ well-being with medical marijuana — it should be just a matter of time before legislators and the governor’s office catch up to the will of the voters. You can help make change come to Indiana by subscribing to our email alerts.