A Republican will be the driving force behind another attempt to legalize medical cannabis in the U.S. state of Indiana.
It’s been said Indiana may be the last state in the USA to provide significant legal access to medical cannabis. Multiple attempts to do so have failed. However, earlier this year there were signs things were beginning to change when Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill allowing patients suffering from treatment-resistant epilepsy to access to cannabidiol-based medications with 0.3% or less THC.
While the program is incredibly restrictive, that small victory has been seen as the thin edge of the wedge in enabling broader access.
Rep. Jim Lucas says he is still nutting out the details of a bill he plans to introduce in the next legislative session and has no doubt he’ll be in for a tough time as it’s a hot-button issue in the state.
Mr. Lucas believes the legal attitude to medical cannabis in the state is untenable.
“I can’t comprehend how we can deny people something that provides them with relief that’s not addictive and is not killing anyone when we know for a fact that prescription opioids are killing people,” said Mr. Lucas in a report published on IndyStar.
While Mr. Lucas may be facing a battle among lawmakers, he should have strong support from the community. The results of a poll published last year indicate more than 70 per cent of Hoosiers (a term applied to residents of Indiana) believe that medical marijuana should be legalized.
Among his likely allies will be State Senator Karen Tallian.
“Since first introducing a marijuana decriminalization bill several years ago, I have argued this is a non-partisan issue,” said Senator Tallian earlier this month. ” I’m looking forward to working with Rep. Jim Lucas next session to give ailing patients more opportunities when it comes to their healthcare needs.”
According to NORML, Indiana has some of the toughest marijuana penalties in the USA; with possession of even a single joint punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.