The Fight for Legalization of Marijuana Continues in Indiana

Garrett Summers | @g_summ300

In the summer of 2016, Ohio legalized medical marijuana, allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana for a wide range of health issues. Michigan would go on to legalize recreational marijuana in 2018. Illinois will be the eleventh state to legalize recreational marijuana when new legislation takes effect on January 1st, 2020. This means that two of Indiana’s neighbors have legalized marijuana for recreational uses, with a third legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. In Indiana, bills were brought forward to decriminalize or legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational purposes. However, these bills only saw their first readings, with none being brought to the floor for an actual vote.

What’s Stopping Indiana?

The biggest obstacle to legalization in Indiana appears to be Governor Eric Holcomb. The governor refuses to consider legalization because, on the federal level, marijuana is still illegal. The Constitution gives most regulatory power to the states, so the state government should already have the power to regulate marijuana. Despite President Trump’s stance that marijuana legalization should be left up to the states, the governor refuses to consider marijuana legalization even though it is well within the scope of the state government to regulate.

The governor also believes that marijuana is a gateway drug. He sides with the Indiana Attorney General in saying that more research is needed. The governor refuses to consider that every free person deserves freedom over what they do with their body. The State of Indiana should not be trying to protect people from themselves and should not adhere to oppressive federal laws.

Even though the governor continues to stand against marijuana legalization, the general assembly has the power to pass laws. While the governor has the power to veto, the legislative body can override a veto. Indiana has a Republican super-majority. In Indiana, this means marijuana is unlikely to gain much support from the ruling party. However, the Republican party has become warmer to the idea of legalizing marijuana over the years.

A Rising Tide

According to Pew Research, almost half of Republicans support the legalization of marijuana, with over 60% of US citizens support legalization as well. With the numbers trending towards most people supporting legalization, it is possible that Indiana could have the support needed to pass marijuana legalization. Hopefully, the citizens of Indiana can grow past the stigma against marijuana and accept that the government shouldn’t be telling us what to do with our bodies.

Assuming that most Hoosiers support the legalization of marijuana, the next step is to ensure that our state representatives represent their constituents. The only way to ensure that the people are listened to is to vote. If our representatives refuse to consider legalization, it is time to vote in a new representative that will consider the needs of their people. It is time for Hoosiers to take back our bodily sovereignty. Call your state representative and senator today, let them know what you support. Let them know that it is time to let the people choose for themselves instead of mandating responsibility by law.

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