4/30/20 Marijuana Laws Timeline

Michigan, Illinois and Ohio have two major things in common: They share a border with Indiana, and they have legalized the use of medical or recreational marijuana.

Indiana is one of 17 states that have yet to make the jump. Indiana Rep. Jim Lucas wants to change that.

“I am not going to stop until Indiana becomes a cannabis state. I am going to continue to educate as many people as humanly possible on the facts of cannabis,” he said in a recent interview.

Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, has been researching and educating himself on cannabis for several years. Lucas believes Indiana, too, should be a “cannabis-friendly” state, with the proper regulations. He and Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage have been actively pursuing legislative changes for years.

In January, he authored a bill that permits the use of medical marijuana if prescribed by a physician. The bill did not receive a hearing.

“We are doing a tremendous disservice to Hoosier citizens by criminalizing responsible people that simply want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis, medically and recreationally,” he said.

He is not the only legislator to propose a bill this year on the topic of marijuana. In 2020, more than nine such bills were introduced. Some included decriminalizing, making the act similar to getting a speeding ticket. Others included legalizing medical marijuana. None made it out of committee.

Purdue students who responded to a survey from The Exponent and a Special Projects in Media class seemed to support the lawmakers. Sixty-one percent of those who responded thought marijuana should be legalized in some form.

Statewide, a 2018 survey by Ball State University found that 81% believe medical marijuana should be legalized. Only 16% thought possession of small amounts merits jail time.

When asked what was standing in Indiana’s way in joining our neighboring states, Lucas had a simple answer: “Governor Holcomb.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has said he will not support any legislation until the federal government legalizes marijuana, according to news reports. In 2019, Holcomb said in a press conference, “I am not convinced other states have made a wise decision.”

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