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Indiana Lawmakers to Study Marijuana Legalization

Lawmakers in Indiana will convene between legislative sessions to study whether the Hoosier State should change its marijuana laws. Under a bill passed into law earlier this year, the General Assembly's Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy study committee is charged with reexamining the state's approach to pot.

The commission's first meeting is set for next week, although it's not clear if marijuana policy will be on the agenda then or during future meetings.

The bill, Senate Bill 192, gives the commission a broad mandate. It asks the commission to report back on whether the use and possession of marijuana should continue to be illegal in Indiana, and if so, what penalties and quantities related to its possession are appropriate. It also asks the commission to assess whether marijuana should be regulated and taxed like alcohol, whether Indiana should implement a medical marijuana program, and "any other issue related to marijuana."

Under current Indiana law, possession of up to 30 grams of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail, although conditional discharge is possible for a first offense. Possession or sale of more than 30 grams is a felony, with a sentence of up to three years. A second pot paraphernalia offense can also earn a three year sentence. There is no provision for medical marijuana under Indiana law.

Indiana has "draconian" pot laws, state Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes), who pushed for the study commission, told the Associated Press. "One day, I watched three young kids plead cases on possession of small amounts," Tallian said. "I thought, 'Why are we spending all of the time and money to do this?' Frankly, I put marijuana in the same category as alcohol."

Tallian said she is lining up speakers for the meeting when marijuana law reform is on the agenda.

"I've got testimony from all different groups," she said. "They keep calling me wondering when it's going to be. I had them lined up when the bill was in the senate -- medical people, criminal defense attorneys, prosecutors, law enforcement. There are a wide range of people interested in the topic."

One of the Republicans who supported the study commission was Rep. Tom Knollman -- who aptly hails from the town Liberty -- a multiple sclerosis sufferer. He told his colleagues during debate earlier this year that he wished he could try medical marijuana to ease his pain. Knollman described himself as among the most conservative of state legislators, but said he hoped he could be a law-abiding citizen and make use of one of "God's plants."

Indianapolis, IN
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Indiana

It is appalling that there are still states willing to burden a young person with a felony conviction for simple possession of cannabis.With the Obama betrayal and lets be very frank about it,he took the cowards road from day one.He conned the youth into believing he would at least let the states decide,pretended to call off the feds all while increasing raids on state legal dispensaries.He is the worst kind of hypocrite.He admits that he had a problem with cocaine and that he smoked large amounts of pot.He didn't get caught so now his shit don't stink.He can do those drugs and be President but if a student gets caught without the connections to make the bust go away,he loses his student loans and could be thrown out of university.Obama is a coward,a hypocrite and an outright liar.If you can't vote republican,and who can?Don't vote for that lying bastard.He is a proponent of the Bush tax cuts,wars,Guantanamo,courtless wiretaps,the patriot act,the list is endless.Voting for Obama is like saying you lied and deceived us and have consistently ignored our questions on cannabis and now you show your true colors which is to tell the people what they want to hear and then to laugh in their faces for being dumb enough to believe one of your countless lies.Just don't vote at all.Send a message,loud and clear,that liars belong in prison.Not the White House.

Vote for Ron Paul

You know when he was still a senator I wrote a blog on MySpace about his back pedaling on this...but no one heard me.  I am a victim of this "war".

If Indiana does the right thing I will start packing my bags to move there. I want to come home.

Please vote for Ron Paul. Please...

I agree

Pam, I agree with you he is looking very good as far as my wants and needs are concerned. I'm sick of people's lives are being ruined for smoking some weed. It doesn't make any sense. none of the laws do. you get caught with a joint you go to jail, loose your license to drive for six months, have to pay for and attend a alcohol/ drug classes. you possibly lose your job/career  especially since you can't drive, then they put you in jail for not being able to work and pay your fines. This is no exaggeration. The penalties are much farther reaching than ever considered Felons for life in second offenders status or a little over the minimum weight. I don't have anything against wealthy people but I once had a friend him and his brother got into some trouble they both had the same crimes but the one brother was a vice president. of a medium sized company made good money. His brother wasn't so fortunate he was an alcoholic couldn't hold a job the richer brother walked away with a small fine and probation the poor brother received probation with jail time suspended and almost twice the fine. Because he once had a drunk in public ticket.  So he lost his job ca and he lost license cause he couldn't pay the fine cause he couldn't drive to work  and was called back to court for a show cause and was sentenced to the full year he originally had also sentenced to alcohol rehabilitation program. which lasts 13 weeks and cost like $750.00 paid while attending or go to jail. Mean while the other brother paid his fine when he walked out was released in two months off probation.

"why are we spending all of

"why are we spending all of the time and money to do this". While i'm happy with what Karen Tallian is doing, and hopefully her efforts will bring much needed change, I have to say, to hear the argument "why are we spending money on this" is not the best thing to hear. I would have liked to hear "why are we subjecting these young people [or anybody] to this?" I understand she's going with the argument that appeals to most of her colleagues, but it is still a loss that a senator can't say "look, this is wrong. people should not be treated like this for marijuana". Look at what the italian top court said, that a plant being grown at a young person's home "could cause no harm". They are definitely ahead. Anyway, i'm very happy that the study will take place. Any rational analysis should lead to positive recommendations. 

Italian culture is such that

Italian culture is such that people will be people, and Americans have the culture their told to have.

If it is an honest study

We should see the House and Senate favor a regulatory system.

Honest study?!

 Aside from Bill Richardson and Ron Paul, when have modern politicians EVER done ANYTHING that could be called honest??? Our founding fathers would have had them all drawn and quartered as traitors!

McD's picture

Dear Mr. Smith

Please don't refer to cannabis as 'pot'.

Indiana, make sure you study alcohol vs.cannabis

You can't have an informed policy towards either substance without it.

Legalize Adult Marijuana Sales.

On June 17, 1971, President Nixon told Congress that "if we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely destroy us." After forty years of trying to destroy "the drug menace in America" we still *haven't* been able to destroy it and it still *hasn't* destroyed us. Four decades is long enough to realize that on this important issue, President Nixon was wrong! All actions taken as a result of his invalid and paranoid assumptions (e.g. the federal marijuana prohibition) should be ended immediately!

It makes no sense for taxpayers to fund the federal marijuana prohibition when it *doesn't* prevent people from using marijuana and it *does* make criminals incredibly wealthy and incite the Mexican drug cartels to murder thousands of people every year.

We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales - to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana must be made legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

"There's something extraordinarily perverse when we're so concerned about preventing addicts from having access to drugs that we destroy the lives of many times more people, either through untreated pain or other drug war damage".

"and it still *hasn't* destroyed us"

I take exception to that statement.  It HAS destroyed the idea of Constitutional protections of our unalienable Rights, which if allowed to continue much longer most certainly will destroy our experiment as a Constitutional Republic with a limited government and a free People.  It HAS created a growing police state that gets worse with each new piece of military equipment, each new member of a SWAT unit, each person who has been killed in a drug raid, or incarcerated for simple possession.  It HAS destroyed the trust between the People and the government and its enforcers.  I understand this, as I was born in the 40's and have been witness to these declines in our Founding principles over my lifetime.

I completely agree with the rest of your comment.

PS: the quote at the bottom of your post is attributed to whom?  I'd like to use it and give the author credit.

the money

Nixon's lies were so bad for America and Americans that we should go back and retro-actively strip him of his presidency like a cheating Heisman winner (mere resignation is not enough). We could just have a giant gap where that A-Hole used to be.... 

Study the Studies...

Over the past 40 plus yrs. there have been numerous studies conducted which have been flatly ignored. Indiana has ZERO intention of allowing medical cannabis for any reason (after all, what if a kid gets ahold of it??.) I think it's something inbred into the incredibly hypocritical nature of the GoP, so deeply rooted in my home state of Indiana. Damn, what a messed up state......

Common sense can prevail in Indiana!

Senate Bill 192 asks the commission to assess whether marijuana should be regulated and taxed like alcohol, whether Indiana should implement a medical marijuana program, and "any other issue related to marijuana."

Certainly regulating & taxing marijuana like alcohol is appropriate!  The end of this loony, paranoid geezer inspired prohibition of marijuana needs to come to an end same as alcohol prohibition. 

Of course a more compassionate, engaged & informed legislature can implement a medical marijuana program even in Indiana. 

Marijuana decriminalization is one issue Democrats, Republicans & Independents CAN come together on!

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