Indiana Aims to Block Local Cannabis Decriminalization

Republican lawmakers in Indiana have advanced a bill from committee that would allow the state to force cannabis prosecutions in counties and jurisdictions that have opted into defacto decriminalization policies.

Full story after the jump.

Indiana Republicans have passed a bill out of committee that would allow the state to step in and enforce cannabis laws if local prosecutors choose not to, or if a citizen vote was held to not enforce a particular law, the Associated Press reports. The move appears to be in response to a decision by Marion County prosecutor Ryan Mears, who announced his office would not prosecute small amounts of cannabis possession, and a Northwest Indiana county which considered writing tickets for possessing an ounce or less of cannabis instead of making an arrest.

The proposal would allow the Attorney General to appoint a “special prosecutor” to intervene in local cases. The bill was passed out of committee on a vote of 6 to 3 and now heads to the Indiana Senate.

The author of the bill, Michael Young (R), says the proposal will also force local prosecutors to try trespassing, disorderly conduct or prostitution not just cannabis,  pointing to Boston and San Francisco as examples of the current “social justice” movement sweeping the country.

“It’s because of the social justice prosecution phenomena that’s going on throughout the country. I wanted to try to head it off in Indiana.” — Young, via the AP

Cannabis arrests in Indiana recently hit the Presidential campaign as former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg moved up in the Democratic Presidential Primary polls.

The Intercept reported last year while covering the Democratic primary that Indiana arrests African Americans for cannabis at a rate 3.5 times higher than their white counterparts. The report went further and shined a light on Pete Buttigieg’s record as mayor of South Bend, where African Americans were 4.3 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than whites living in the city during his term.

 

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