Three bills have been filed in Indiana to reform the state’s cannabis laws, including a measure to decriminalize possession up to one ounce, the South Bend Tribune reports. Another bill would nullify a law approved earlier this year that banned smokable hemp and CBD, while the third would create a compliance commission to regulate CBD product licensing.
State Sen. Karen Tallian (D), the bill sponsor, explained that in Indiana cannabis possession accounts for the second largest number of arrests annually, with 22,000 people arrested for possession in 2018.
“Maybe we’re not putting people in jail in every county. But 22,000 arrests is a lot of court time, and a lot of these people will still end up with a criminal record.” – Tallian, to the Tribune
Republican Rep. Jim Lucas, who has sponsored a decriminalization bill in the House, said he “100 percent” supports his colleague’s efforts in the Senate, noting that with neighboring Michigan legalization already taking effect, Indiana citizens should be penalized for using cannabis legally out-of-state.
“That’s the hypocrisy of our policy right now,” Lucas said in the report. “We have these outdated, senseless laws on the books that make a criminal out of an otherwise responsible adult for having small amounts of cannabis.”
Lucas added that some county prosecutors in the state have already said they would no longer try low-level cannabis possession cases, saying that those “pockets of resistance” to cannabis prohibition ate “on the state level and the governor’s office.”
Late last year, Gov. Eric Holcomb said he is “just not willing to look at” cannabis legalization citing federal drug laws.
Lucas said the federal government is a “circus” and that he doesn’t agree with basing state laws on federal laws.
In 2018, the Indiana Legislature passed laws legalizing CBD sales and hemp production in the state but Tallian said that because of the subsequent measure to outlaw smokable hemp the laws are “a mess.” She said her bill to create a CBD compliance commission would be modeled after commissions that regulate alcohol and tobacco.