Indiana Legislature in session with medical marijuana on the agenda
Last update: January 12, 2017
On January 3, the Indiana General Assembly began its 2017 legislative session. Already, several marijuana policy reform bills have been filed. Tell your lawmakers you support a comprehensive medical marijuana program for Hoosiers!
Sen. Jim Tones has filed SB 15, which would establish in-state access for CBD oil for patients with intractable epilepsy. If adopted, Indiana would only be the second state in the country to embrace such a program. While this offers an improvement over the status quo, seriously ill patients need a broader program, like that offered by Sen. Karen Tallian’s SB 255, which would include more conditions and as much THC as patients need. Please let your lawmakers know that you want comprehensive reform!
New poll shows Hoosiers overwhelmingly support medical marijuana
An October 2016 poll found 73% of Indiana voters support creating a medical marijuana program in the state. The WTHR/Howey Politics Indiana-commissioned poll found majority support among all demographics. Eighty-two percent of Democrats and 59% of Republicans support protecting patients. There was strong support among all age groups, with the lowest support a still overwhelming 57%, among seniors, age 65 and older.
Although champions such as Sen. Karen Tallian have introduced several compassionate bills over the years, the legislature has yet to take this sensible step. Please let your lawmakers know where you stand on this important issue and help build support for reform next session.
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.