Friday, May 24, 2024

Indiana Senator Tallian Looks Toward Cannabis Legalization

After the midterms, Michigan became the 10th state — plus the District of Columbia — to legalize adult use cannabis, and as it helps color in the nation’s “50 shades of green,” it may also be inspirational to their southern neighbor. Indiana could itself go green in 2019 if its Senator Karen Tallian has anything to do about it.

Tallian joined the Senate in 2005 and since her early years she’s was dubbed the “Marijuana Senator” as she sought early on to study state cannabis policy. She’s not alone, but she’s not the populous voice. And while legalizing cannabis in Indiana may fly through the house, it needs a few more senate votes, said David Phipps, communications director of the Indianapolis based branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), in the South Bend Tribune.

Sen. Tallian is not to be deterred though. Already her efforts have brought about sentencing reform in the way that possession of marijuana was brought down from a felony to a misdemeanor and she’s not stopping there: in next year’s session she plans to submit that possession of up to 2 ounces be legalized for adults; she also plans on another bill to legalize medical use; and, she wants to form the Cannabis Compliance Commission to oversee everything cannabis.

While Michigan was able to pass its adult use law via ballots, in Indiana the General Assembly must approve any measure. When Tallian started out in 2005 she was a lone wolf in Indiana, but she said that this year around a dozen pieces of legislation were submitted by lawmakers revolving around marijuana and its liberation.

Now Tallihan has to contend with or convince more lawmakers in her state, but also the governor and the attorney general, all of whom are wary of legalizing pot. She has an allie in Republican Indianian Representative Jim Lucas, who is also on a mission to at least get medical marijuana for the state, if not full legalization. His mind was changed on the topic over time as CBD rose up as a miracle aid for seizure disorder and then he tried cannabis in Colorado for himself with great success and “the best” night’s sleep.

Now Lucas sees what activists and advocates have been saying for decades and summed it up himself, “It’s not a political thing, it’s not a constituent thing. It’s simply the right thing.” In the meantime, it’s business as usual in Indiana and if you’re crossing over from Michigan, it’s best not to risk boldly bringing a stash. However, with Michigan gone green, this is the time to write local lawmakers, the governor and the attorney general to let them know how Hoosiers feel about legalizing cannabis in Indiana, too.


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