Indiana News

Indiana marijuana-related bills dead in legislature

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana lawmakers blew smoke at several marijuana bills filed at the Statehouse.

Thirteen bills dealing with marijuana or cannabis are essentially dead. 

“I’m very frustrated and disappointed in the fact that we have certain people in this state that will just not open their eyes and look at it the way it deserves to be looked at,” said State Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour.

Lucas had believed so strongly in changing Indiana’s marijuana laws that he traveled to Colorado last year for research. He came back and put the best of what he learned into two House bills. Lucas wanted to decriminalize possession and bring medical marijuana to Indiana.

“Both of those bills would’ve helped not just a few Hoosiers, but tens of thousands of Hoosiers,” Lucas said. “Especially the medical cannabis. We’ve seen 30 other states have adopted this. The states that have are expanding their programs.”

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Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, including Illinois and Ohio. Recreational marijuana is legal in 10 states, including Michigan.

State Sen. Karen Tallian‘s three cannabis-related bills got snuffed out a few days ago. Tallian wanted to created a cannabis compliance commission and legalize possession of less than 2 ounces of marijuana. 

“I also had a medical marijuana bill that I thought really might get a hearing,” the Democrat from Portage said. “Until the governor came out and said ‘we’re not doing that.”

Are Tallian and Lucas hopeful their legislation might be resurrected in the session’s second half?

“In this session?” Tallian said. “No. I’m not.”

“There’s always a chance,” Lucas said. “We have some Senate bills coming over. We can look to add some amendments to and maybe turn up the heat on some of these people that are standing in our way.” 

Senate Democratic Party leaders had medical marijuana on their agenda this session. 

“I think that’s something else where probably another year’s going to go by where we don’t do too much on that, which is unfortunate, because when you look at the supporters of medical marijuana, they’re not a bunch of wackos,” said Tim Lanane, the Senate floor minority leader. “We have veterans’ groups that are very much concerned about this. We, as a state, we’re looking at alternative medicine approaches so everybody doesn’t end up on opiates. If there’s some benefit to that, if other states have taken reasonable marijuana reform, we ought to really look at that.”  

Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he wants Indiana to stay in line with federal law.

“If the (federal) law changed, we would look at all the positive or adverse impacts it might have on our population,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “But, I’m not convinced that other states have made a wise decision.” 

The marijuana/cannabis-related bills that died are:

  • Senate bills: 211, 213, 287 and 357.
  • House bills: 1283, 1377, 1384, 1387, 1460, 1535, 1540, 1658 and 1685.