Indiana’s marijuana laws among the harshest in the nation
Last update: May 22, 2020
Marijuana policy reform is sweeping the Midwest! Both Indiana’s neighbor to the north, Michigan, and its neighbor to the west, Illinois, have legalized marijuana for adults' use. And, Ohio, its eastern neighbor, has a comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Unfortunately, Indiana continues to lag behind its neighbors and the rest of the country on marijuana policy. It is one of only 23 states that still imposes jail time for simple possession of cannabis and one of only 17 that lacks a compassionate medical cannabis law.
Under current law, possession of even a single joint is punishable by up to a year of incarceration and a fine of up to $5,000. These laws are not being equally enforced; African Americans are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as whites.
A bill to decriminalize marijuana possession died in committee during the 2020 legislative session. But as more and more states move forward, it’s only a matter of time before Indiana improves its laws. Make sure your lawmakers know this issue matters to voters: Ask your lawmakers to decriminalize marijuana possession in 2021.
Gov. Holcomb signs bill legalizing low-THC CBD oil
On March 21, 2018, Gov. Eric Holcomb signed Senate Enrolled Act 52, legalizing low-THC CBD derived from industrial hemp. The law allows any person to buy, sell, and possess CBD oil, as long as it meets certain labeling requirements and contains no more than 0.3 percent THC.
The law provides a much needed expansion to Indiana’s 2017 low-THC law for patients with seizure disorders, which only allowed CBD oil for epileptic patients while providing no way for them to purchase it. Still, the law provides no clarification on the legality of manufacturing CBD in Indiana.
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’ health and well-being with medical marijuana — it should be just a matter of time before legislators catch up to the will of the voters. You can help make change come to Indiana by subscribing to our email alerts.