The medicinal marijuana movement is gaining momentum in the United States, and now it may even have a future in Indiana. Senator Karen Tallian, district 4 representative, plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill to the Indiana legislature when it reconvenes in 2015.
Tallian, inspired by the passing of the recent federal funding bill that eliminates raids on state-legalized medical marijuana operations, explained her reasoning for introducing the bill in 2015, in a released statement,
“For this upcoming session, I have a bill ready to file to legalize medical marijuana. I am ready and eager to get to work after this last major federal obstacle has been lifted.”
Tallian has introduced multiple marijuana policy reform bills in the past that would decriminalize the possession of small quantities of marijuana for adults. None of her previous bills have passed despite the fact that, according to the most recent Gallup Poll, 58 percent of Americans support marijuana legalization in the United States. This clear-majority approval rating of 58 percent is a significant increase from 1969 when only 12 percent of people supported legalization.
According to the Hoosier Survey, conducted by The Bowen Center for Public Affairs at Ball State University, marijuana legalization support has also increased in Indiana. The 2012 survey reported that 53 percent of Indiana residents supported decriminalizing cannabis possession for adults. The 2013 survey found that 52 percent of Hoosiers support legalizing and regulating cannabis in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco. Support increased to 78 percent in response to the question, “should marijuana be taxed like cigarettes?”
Currently, the state of Indiana has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country. An adult caught in possession of any amount of cannabis less than 30 grams risks up to one year in prison and $5,000 in fines. At this time, these laws stand even if the person uses the marijuana for medicinal purposes.
graph credit: Gallup