Legislature fails to move on cannabis reform bills during 2021 session
Last update: April 2, 2021
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.
During the 2021 legislative session, several cannabis reform bills were introduced, including legislation that would have legalized and regulated cannabis for adults. Unfortunately, none of these bills received a hearing before their respective legislative deadlines. Now, the effort to reform Indiana’s outdated cannabis laws shifts to 2022.
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.
Indiana is now one of only 14 states with no effective medical cannabis law, and one of only 19 that still imposes jail time for simple possession of cannabis. 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 them to support cannabis policy reform!
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.