SB 192, introduced by Sen. Tallian, would require the criminal law and sentencing policy study committee to study marijuana & its effect on the Indiana criminal justice system, whether marijuana should continue to be illegal in Indiana and, if so, the appropriate penalties, whether medical marijuana should be implemented in Indiana, whether marijuana should be treated and controlled like alcohol, with controlled and regulated sales, and special taxation. It also gives the committee authority to study any other issue related to marijuana.
Deanna Martin, writing for the AP (h/t Joh Padgett) has an article about the bill.
A state senator is asking a question she hopes will spur debate about sentencing laws and possibly save Indiana millions of dollars: Should the state legalize marijuana?
Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage wants a criminal law and sentencing study committee to examine Indiana’s marijuana laws next summer and come up with recommendations. Other states have already decriminalized small amounts of marijuana or created programs to allow medical marijuana, and Tallian says it’s time for Indiana to have the discussion.
Seems like a reasonable step to me. Probably it’s just the crowd I hang with (overly educated, left-leaning, youngish (but aging)), but I can’t say I really know a lot of people who have any serious problems with legalization of marijuana. In college, I went so nuts with alcohol, it didn’t strike me as a great idea to venture beyond that particular drug; but it wasn’t because of any moral objection. From everything I’ve heard, marijuana is no more problematic than alcohol and, in a number of respects, less so. Convicting or imprisoning people for nothing other than possessing or using marijuana seems like a waste of our resources and the type of thing that diminishes peoples’ respect for the criminal justice system. So, based on the limited information I have, I suppose I’m in favor of legalization.
That said, I’m not a huge fan of medical marijuana. Where it is called for medicinally, I think it should be available. But, I wouldn’t like it if medicinal marijuana was sort of a fig leaf for general use; where the medicinal need is tenuous or fictitious. I think that kind of thing does more harm than good.