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Will the Hoosier State Legalize Medical Marijuana in 2017?

Lawmakers in Indiana have introduced several bills to legalize medicinal marijuana. (fbi.gov)
Lawmakers in Indiana have introduced several bills to legalize medicinal marijuana. (fbi.gov)
January 23, 2017

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's been a sudden flurry of legislation in Indiana to reform the state's marijuana laws. State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, has introduced a marijuana bill for the seventh straight year.

Senate Bill 255 would create an an agency to work out details for allowing the use of medicinal marijuana. It would allow patients with a variety of health conditions, including migraines and post-traumatic stress disorder, to use cannabis with the go-ahead from their doctor. It would also give access to patients suffering from "any persistent or chronic illness or condition.”

Tallian said it's one of several proposals to tweak the state laws.

"I think that the floodgates have finally broken. For the first two or three years, it was just me,” Tallinn said. “And then, there were a couple of people in the House who stuck their neck out and filed something. This year, I think we have three bills in the Senate, and maybe another eight or so in the House."

But marijuana bills probably will not get much support from newly-elected Gov. Eric Holcomb. During a debate last fall, he said expanding or legalizing drugs of this nature isn't on his priority list.

This month, the Indiana American Legion approved a resolution asking the Legislature to remove restrictions from marijuana for medical use. Tallian said she would like to see marijuana legalized completely, but hasn't been able to get much support from fellow lawmakers for that.

"We are still putting kids in jail for possession of marijuana," she said. "And although some courts are more or less likely to do that, I don't think we ever need to give a kid a criminal record because he smoked a joint.”

Tallian described the state's pot-related penalties as some of the most draconian in the country. And she said Indiana is behind other states in terms of modernizing its marijuana laws.

"If you look at all the states who have either legalized it altogether, or legalized it with some medical, or removed jail time, or allowed even some form of CBD oil,” Tallian said, "we're in a handful of states now who have done nothing."

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IN