Indiana: Hearing On Marijuana Study Bill Held Tuesday

The first hearing on S.B. 192 took place on Tuesday to discuss the need to study the marijuana laws in Indiana and find alternatives to arrest and incarceration. S.B. 192 would require lawmakers to investigate other options to the marijuana laws that put nonviolent Hoosiers behind bars and tie up scarce resources that the public would rather see spent on infrastructure, according to sponsor Sen. Karen Tallian (D-District 4).

“It has become painfully obvious that our current marijuana laws are not effective,” Sen. Tallian said. “We spend a sizable amount of money every year going after marijuana users and locking them up for a nonviolent crime, while more important programs that desperately need funds go wanting.

“I think we need to take a very close look at the laws we have, determine what is working and what isn’t, and explore every possible alternative,” Sen. Tallian said. “This bill will make sure that we, as lawmakers, commit to this course.”
More than a dozen people testified at the hearings, including policy experts, former law enforcement officers, and medical marijuana patients who suffer from the threat of arrest under the present system.
“I am a Gulf War era veteran and former police officer who suffers from over 20 diagnosed illnesses, including PTSD, and have been 100 percent unemployable since 2004 due to the combined effects of my illnesses,” said one speaker, C.J. Parker. “I have had no success with the over 30 pharmaceutical medications that have been prescribed to me over the last nine years, but have found great relief from treating my illnesses with marijuana. It is time my elected leaders take a look at how to allow people like me to live without the fear of arrest.”
“I have been a cannabis therapy patient for many years treating diabetic neuropathy, and a blood clotting disorder that has reduced circulation in my legs by 80 percent, said Joh Padgett, a local leader in the marijuana reform community. “I co-founded ReLegalize Indiana with our chairman, Bill Levin, in January 2010 to give a voice to patients in Indiana like me who can benefit greatly from medical cannabis.
“Proper medical research is something we do well in Indiana and it is time we allowed our world-class researchers and our most vulnerable citizens to study and access a therapy allowed in 15 states and the District of Columbia,” Padgett said.
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