Thirteen marijuana-related bills reached the floor this session. The bills, ranging from legalization for adult use to limited medical use, were brought to the floor, read, referred to various committees, then crickets.
The delay in passing substantive legislation puts the state further behind its neighbors (Michigan and Illinois have both legalized cannabis for adult use, Ohio has passed medical cannabis legislation, and Kentucky appears poised to do the same during their 2022 session).
- Reduce strain on police officers, jails, and the court system freeing up resources to focus on actual crime.
- Provide relief for a variety of health conditions including chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety, cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, insomnia, etc.
- Tax money raised through legalization can be used for a variety of purposes including infrastructure, education, childcare, social services, mental health programs, etc.
- The process of legalizing creates a framework for safety control measures that ensure consumers have access to safe products.
- Cannabis access has been found to reduce rates of opioid use and abuse, opioid-related fatalities, and opioid-related overdose deaths. source
Indiana residents along the Illinois and Michigan borders can drive across state lines and purchase cannabis legally. These otherwise law-abiding citizens immediately become criminals upon crossing back over state lines putting themselves at unnecessary risk.
Criminal charges forever change the lives of those impacted and put undue stress on police, jails, and the court system. Why do we continue to arrest and jail our friends, family, and neighbors for possession of marijuana for personal use?
I have supported the legalization of marijuana for many years. Although I was born and raised in Indiana, I moved out of state 25ish years ago. I moved back to the Angola area in 2020 following a decade in Southern California. I have seen firsthand the economic benefits of legalized marijuana in terms of employment and opportunities.
The benefits of cannabis use are wide-ranging and far outweigh the downsides. Legalization is supported by a large percentage of Indiana residents, regardless of political party.
Representative Zent has not done enough to support cannabis and bring relief to seniors, veterans, and those suffering. Cannabis legalization will be one of my main focuses in the Indiana House of Representatives.
Religious and pharmaceutical groups have lobbied legislators (including Representative Zent) to prevent progress. The tide has turned on the prohibition of cannabis. It is past time Indiana joined the 37 states that allow for medical cannabis use, and the 18 states that have legalized marijuana for both recreational and medical purposes.