As cannabis activists, we tend to spend a lot of time focused on states that have either enacted cannabis law reform or are trying to, with even more focus on bigger states like California, Florida, etc. But we must never forget those who live in states where reform is not only almost non-existent, but can still be considered a long shot, even in the current climate of favorability nationwide.
Indiana will likely be one of the last states to legalize cannabis for adult-use; I’m not surprising anyone with that statement. But while most states have at least a semblance of a medical marijuana program, lawmakers in Indiana continue to be hostile to even that modicum of reform.
“Hoosiers continue to be harassed, arrested, prosecuted, publicly humiliated, and lose their jobs for choosing to self-medicate with therapeutic levels of THC like our neighboring states get to freely use right now,” William Henry, Indiana NORML Chairman, told The Marijuana Times. “Our liberty continues to be violated, and Hoosiers are not happy.”
Even hemp has been controversial in the state. “Last session the legislature passed a restriction on hemp flower making it a Class A misdemeanor to have any part of processing, distributing, or possessing,” William said. “Some hemp businesses [that] retail in hemp flower products joined together and challenged that law. A federal injunction was placed on the law focusing on the interstate transport restriction being unconstitutional, further challenges and appeals were made as well. It is still currently in litigation. This injunction legalized hemp flower again in September 2019.”
But regarding all other aspects of reform, William told us that “[c]annabis law reform in the Indiana State House is currently at a stand-still. All the bills that were submitted to the state legislature this session for hemp and cannabis reform are dead.”
“We are at the mercy of the election,” he said. “We are encouraging all those who support cannabis reform in the state to register to vote, and vote for pro-cannabis candidates in their districts in November 2020.”
In the bigger picture, Indiana is a small state, but it is a state that is full of individuals that are suffering. They are as deserving of not having their rights violated as anyone else. They deserve to be allowed the choice of using cannabis for medicine at the very least, and this should not be a controversial stance by any standard.
And because the road is so long and tough in Indiana, it is all the more reason to get the word out as to where marijuana law reform stands in the state. If you live there, you are needed to put pressure on lawmakers and officials, either by contacting them or voting against them.
Things won’t change on their own, especially in a state like Indiana. It will take a lot of effort from the people who care most about the issue – activists and consumers and patients in the state.