Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Where Does Indiana Stand On Legalizing Medical Marijuana?

Now that ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use, regular citizens are becoming more interested in the pot laws in their neck of the woods. Unless a person keeps close tabs on these types of developments, it can be difficult to know everything there is about where it is legal, where it isn’t and when legalization might be happening. This is especially true ever since the CBD craze went full steam ahead this year. It is shocking to hear just how many people believe medical marijuana is legal in their state because a company sells the non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant at their local mall or health food store.

Indiana is one of these states where, unless a resident is obsessed with monitoring marijuana news on a regular basis, there seems to be some question about the legalities surrounding marijuana. Some of this disorder is mostly to blame on the vagueness of the laws surrounding CBD products. But the truth of the matter is marijuana, even for medicinal use, is still mostly illegal in the Hoosier State.

Here’s the rub:

Possession of anything other than hemp-based CBD containing less than 0.3 percent CBD is prohibited statewide. Anyone busted with up to 30 grams of marijuana can be charged with a class A misdemeanor and endure penalties of up to a year in jail and fines reaching $5,000. In some cases (i.e., habitual offenders) small-time marijuana offenses can be charged as felonies. There is prison time to be had for those unfortunate folks who fall into this category.

Meanwhile, Indiana is almost entirely surrounded by states that have legalized for medical and recreational use. The most recent includes Michigan. Voters there decided in the midterm election that adults 21 and over should be allowed to buy and grow weed for personal use. Neighboring Illinois could impose a similar reform next year at the request of governor-elect J.D. Pritzker.

But isn’t Indiana’s CBD law essentially medical marijuana? No, not really. Most states with medical marijuana laws on the books have an established regulatory system in place for patients suffering from various conditions. Indiana doesn’t have anything like that. All of the legislation introduced over the year attempting to implement such as thing throughout Indiana have failed miserably at the hands of legislative forces. In fact, none of the medical marijuana bills brought forward have so much as received a hearing. An interim legislative panel even decided over the summer that medical marijuana was not something the state should entertain in upcoming sessions.

Not even the issue of decriminalization (eliminating the criminal penalties for pot possession without legalizing it) has been given a fair shake. But these concepts are expected to discussed once again at the Statehouse in 2019.

Indiana Representative Jim Lucas, who has been leading the charge for legal medical marijuana, said earlier after taking a pot-related field trip to Colorado that the legalization of medical marijuana “is the right thing to do for Indiana.”

Most Indiana residents agree. A survey conducted two years ago by WTHR found that 73 percent of the population is in favor of the state passing a law that allows people with specific health conditions to use cannabis for its therapeutic application. Even the older demographics, which are traditional opposed to legalization, responded mostly in favor of this reform. Whether the State Legislature is prepared to entertain this idea in the next session remains to be seen. But it might be forced to or suffer the consequences. A recent article from Forbes suggests that legal marijuana in states like Michigan is ramping up the black market in Indiana and other areas of prohibition.



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