Advocates for the legalization medical and recreational marijuana have made inroads across the United States. There are currently 33 states and Washington, DC that allow medical marijuana and 11 (including DC) that legalized cannabis for recreational use. As many know, Indiana does not make either of these lists, but there was some optimism at the beginning of the 2019 legislative session that there could be some changes to laws regarding marijuana.
With the exception of Kentucky, Indiana is surrounded by states that eased up their laws regarding marijuana use:
- Ohio has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and allows medical marijuana
- Illinois allows medical, has decriminalized and looks poised for full legalization
- Michigan has legalized recreational and medical use
Indiana still has a long way to go
State Republicans have super majorities, and despite some other states with Republican majorities signing off on legalization or decriminalization, the move towards legalizing recreational or medical marijuana has stalled this year so far. According to news reports, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma’s priorities do not include marijuana and Governor Eric Holcomb (who admitted to using marijuana in college) said he is unwilling to address the issue, at least until there have been changes in federal law. Despite this opposition, State Senator Karen Tallian filed three cannabis-related bills.
These bills sought to:
- Establish a Cannabis Compliance Commission to oversee sale or use of marijuana
- Legalize marijuana possession of less than 2 ounces
- Legalize medical marijuana, which is a priority for the Democrats
Unfortunately, it looks like these bills and four by marijuana-related bills by other lawmakers have not gotten out of committee. Tallian and other supporters could stick policy in related legislation before the end of 2019 General Assembly at midnight on April 29, but Republicans seem steadfast in their opposition.
Still a crime in the Hoosier state
More than half of the states have decriminalized cannabis; nevertheless, people here in Bloomington can still go to jail. It is always crucial to contact a defense attorney if one faces drug charges. They can provide knowledgeable legal guidance to protect clients’ rights now and in the future.