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Indiana Senator Files Bill To Legalize Marijuana Possession

Indiana Senator Files Bill To Legalize Marijuana Possession

Legislation to decriminalize the possession of up to two ounces of cannabis has been filed in Indiana by State Senator Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes.

Sen. Tallian has been fighting for cannabis policy reform in the Hoosier State since 2012. Indiana, a red state where it remains illegal to catch a fish with your bare hands, is known to have some of the most stringent penalties for marijuana in the country.

Previous marijuana policy reform legislation introduced by Sen. Tallian has not even received a hearing, but this year is different. Scientific research is mounting as ten states have legalized recreational use, and 33 have legalized it for medicinal purposes. Michigan, Indiana’s neighbor to the north, voted to legalize recreational marijuana in the latest election. Illinois has a successful medical marijuana program in place already, and medical marijuana is expected to hit dispensary shelves for the first time in Ohio this week.

In March 2018, Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill to legalize CBD oil in Indiana, and support for legalization is at an all time high according to the 2018 Hoosier Survey. The telephone poll was conducted from October 2nd through the 20th of last year. Polling 604 random Indiana adults revealed that 80% of Hoosiers support either recreational or medical marijuana legalization.

“Since marijuana programs cannot be approved by a ballot initiative, it is up to the legislature to follow the will of the people,” Senator Tallian said. “Support for legalizing and taxing cannabis is at an all-time high, and 10 states, as well as Washington, D.C., have already legalized marijuana for recreational use.”

Proposed Marijuana Law

Senate Bill 213 aims to eliminate the criminal penalty for the possession of personal amounts of marijuana. This legislation would make it legal for both medical and recreational users to have up to two ounces. This bill also, “Repeals the offense of possession of marijuana, hash oil, hashish, or salvia as a Level 6 felony.”

Current Indiana Marijuana Law

Possession of any amount, including one single joint, is a misdemeanor punishable with up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Possession of up to 30 grams, or just about one ounce, is a Class A misdemeanor punishable with up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both. Receiving a subsequent charge for any amount or possessing more than 30 grams the first time is considered a Class D felony with between six months and three years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Manufacturing and selling marijuana are associated with different charges. Growing or distributing up to 30 grams is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. Any amount between 30 grams and ten pounds can be a Class D felony punishable with six months to three years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both. Any amount over ten pounds is considered a Class D felony that comes with two to eight years in prison, up to $10,000 in fines, or both.

Cannabidiol Oil Bill Filed in Indiana

Cannabidiol Oil Bill Filed in Indiana

A bill authored by State Rep. Sue Errington (D-Muncie) to create a state medical marijuana program had initially been thought moribund, with many in state government still opposed to the prescription and use of cannabis for medical purposes.

Then state Sen. Jean Leising (R), who also chairs the state’s Senate Agriculture Committee, submitted a smaller bill that would protect from prosecution those doctors conducting legal trials on the effectiveness of cannabidiol (CBD) oil in treating seizures in children.

Leising’s Senate Bill 72 was described by Errington as a “good step.”

“Maybe these little pilots, if her bill passes, that could be a good step,”

Errington said. However, she maintains that medical marijuana can offer treatments far beyond that of addressing seizures.

“I think it’s just a first step, because there are a lot of other conditions that could be helped. I mean the pain of cancer, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s, PTSD. Veterans organizations have really come out strong for their medical marijuana bill because of the implications for treating PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder),” she continued.

CBD oil’s therapeutic effect has been gaining interest in the scientific and political communities in recent years. The jump in activity surrounding the drug is partially attributable to a National Geographic documentary, titled “Cannabis for Kids,” in which the parents of sick children turned to medical marijuana out of desperation.

While experts report that singled cannabinoid therapies like CBD oil treatments do not work as well for most patients as whole plant therapy options because of the entourage effect, and states that have enacted CBD-only laws are often scrutinized, approving a measure like SB 72 would be a progressive step for the Hoosier State.

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