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2 Indiana lawmakers hope marijuana legalization comes in 2020

2020 marijuana legislation in the works at Indiana Statehouse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Could Indiana go green, following other states and legalizing marijuana in 2020? Two state lawmakers think the legislature has a real shot at legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana by then.

Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas and Democrat state Sen. Karen Tallian think lawmakers should seriously consider cannabis. Lucas said he plans on filing legislation that would legalize medical cannabis statewide.

“There are just a whole spectrum of benefits that this brings to people,” the Republican from Seymour said Tuesday. “A better quality of life and, not just that, but significantly less side-effects than many of the prescription medications they’re taking now.”

Their comments came after Acting Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears on Monday announced his office will no longer prosecute adults accused of possessing less than 1 ounce of marijuana when that charge is the only or the most serious charge.

“God bless that man.” Lucas said of Mears. “I want to buy him a steak dinner. Anything he wants at St. Elmo’s or whatever restaurant in Indianapolis. What he did, he is going to force the conversation at the Statehouse that should’ve been had years ago.”

Tallian has had the conversation for years. She’s planing on filing a bill that would decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Indiana.

“Last week, at the Criminal Corrections Committee, the state prosecutors association told us that, last year, there were 22,000 arrests for marijuana possession. So, let’s start there, let’s get rid of that,” the Democrat from Portage said Tuesday.

Tallian said she plans a couple other bills. One would create a statewide compliance commission.

“We have people all over who want to start processing hemp. They want to start making CBD oil,” Tallian said. “It says you’re supposed to have a license, but there’s nobody in charge of issuing licenses.”

Is 2020 the year Indiana could pass some sort of cannabis bill?

“I pray we do,” Lucas said. “This is an issue I’ve laid awake at night trying to wrap my head around why we are not at least having the conversation.”

“I think it could be a time when we decriminalize it.” Tallian said.

Lucas plans to file his bill in about a month or so. Tallian is still working on her bills.