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July 29, 2011

Notable discussion of possible marijuana reforms in Indiana

This local article, headlined "State urged to legalize marijuana," reports on a notable legislative discussion in Indiana.  Here are excerpts:

Reducing or eliminating penalties for minor marijuana possession and legalizing industrial hemp production could add more than $250 million a year to Indiana's bottom line.

According to economic impact estimates presented Thursday to a legislative committee studying the state's marijuana laws, decriminalization would save up to $200 million a year in reduced police, court and prison expenses, while legalizing and taxing marijuana could bring in $50 million of new sales tax revenue. "There's a lot of money and time to be saved in our court system," said state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes.

For more than four hours, a panel of state representatives and senators listened attentively as several Hoosiers spoke emotionally of their need for marijuana as medicine -- despite its illegality -- as no other drug or treatment can relieve their chronic pain.

In addition, lawyers and academic experts testified to the selective prosecution of many marijuana possession cases in Indiana, while others spoke of the new jobs and tax revenue that would come by having farmers plant industrial hemp, a form of marijuana that can be turned into everything from clothing to diesel fuel.

State Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, the committee chairman, said he purchased a hemp shirt on a lark last summer and after wearing it repeatedly it's still soft, wrinkle-free and "the best shirt I ever bought."

Tallian said based on the positive response of state lawmakers to Thursday's testimony she expects to sponsor legislation in 2012 to change Indiana's marijuana laws, most likely altering criminal sanctions. Currently possession of any marijuana can result in a one-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine, while a second possession conviction or possession of more than 30 grams, enough for about 30-40 marijuana cigarettes, nets up to a three-year prison term.

July 29, 2011 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Keeping Marijuajan illegal is a violation of our constitutional rights. This should of never been tolerated. Unfortunatly, there are way too many Neo Conservatives who outnumber everyone else and continue to force their will on everyone. They have ruined so many lives. We should decriminalize weed immediately. What we have is a "MOB Democracy" and change is needed now and immediatly. Not later. Also, people that were charged for marijuana possesion must have their senteces reversed. I condem this society for the crimes perpetrated on humanity and the oppression of our freedoms! I call Buer the 10th Spirit of 50 legions to wrath hell on those who oppress the truth of the virtues of the plants and of life. Be it change come now, be it change come fast...

Posted by: Martin Ross | Oct 19, 2012 8:44:30 PM

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