Indiana Bill Could Decriminalize Marijuana
Indiana lawmakers say the state may be well on its way to decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.
Last week, Senator Karen Tallian introduced a piece of legislation – SB 314 -- aimed at making possession of less than two ounces of marijuana a civil infraction – punishable with fines similar to that of a traffic violation.
As it stands, possession of up to 30 grams in Indiana is a criminal offense, with penalties of up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. State pot proponents say that Senator Tallian’s bill is an important step to changing the marijuana laws in Indiana for good.
“I full heartily support her [Tallian’s] decriminalization bill, this is obvious,” said Bill Levin, cannabis lobbyist with Re-Legalize Indiana. “The tides have turned here in Indiana. We are no longer afraid to speak the truth about this wonderful plant. People of all ages are losing their paranoia and speaking up.”
Levin says that it is just a matter of time before there is a major political shift here in the Hoosier state, a time when all of those against marijuana legalization will be eliminated from the equation.
“I believe in the next three years of elections, we will vote out of office anyone whom disagrees with us,” he said. “Karen is a powerful leader with keen insight to our states deepest desires."
However, while the bill has plenty of support from Indiana residents, similar bills proposed in 2012 and then again last year did not make it through the state legislature. Even if that changes this year, the likelihood of the bill receiving any support from Indiana republican governor Mike Pence is slim. Gov. Pence has said in the past that he opposes decriminalization.
Regardless, Levin says it is time the state supports measures that will keep innocent people from being incarcerated and provide medicine for those in need.
"Cannabis is the worlds greatest health supplement…and I believe their should be a pint of cannabis oil in every Hoosiers medicine chest," he said.
Senator Tallian’s bill is scheduled to be heard before the Indiana Senate Corrections and Criminal Committee.