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Former Senator Says Indiana Is Exploring Legal Weed, But Not For Economic Benefits

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By Nina Zdinjak

Regulators in Indiana recently agreed that more research on the potential health benefits and decriminalization of cannabis is required before taking any legislative action. The General Assembly’s Legislative Council overwhelmingly supported the idea to task the interim study committee on public health, behavioral health and human services with reviewing the issue further.

Until the legislative session in 2023, the task force will consult industry experts and take public testimony on cannabis issues. Several meetings are planned for this summer or fall.

New York Approves Bill To Include Medical Marijuana In Health Coverage
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Health Benefits First

Speaking about legalization efforts, former state Senator Jim Merritt told IN Focus that the summer committee in the Hoosier State is concentrated on the health benefits, more than economic, writes Fox 59.

“The overwhelming feeling in Indiana, as far as I know, is cannabis in a health situation,” Merritt said. “I think the idea of cannabis coming into the state… if we can just legalize and regulate it, I think we would have more of a control over it.”

He also stressed that Delta-8 THC requires increased regulation and that the state should learn from other states that already have legal marijuana programs, what are the best, but also what are the worst practices.

According to Merritt, Indiana will have to wait “a couple of years” before seeing the state reform. He is, however, more optimistic about medical marijuana legalization, and thinks it will be seriously considered in the next legislative session.

“I think you’ll see a medical cannabis in the legislature next year,” Merritt said. “Ohio has had a good experience with it, they have a good model.”

On the topic, state Rep. Terri Austin (D – Anderson) said she plans to examine all the potential benefits both economically and socially and to research the impacts in other states that have already gone through the legalization process.

RELATED: Cannabis Legalization On Hold In Indiana — Here’s Why

Indiana Senator Attempts To Decriminalize Marijuana
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“What we really want to know is: Is it a wise move for Indiana in the long run?” Austin said. “What can we learn from those states that have passed legalization or decriminalization efforts?”

Senate President Pro Tempore Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) added that the committee has a crucial task to guide the state further on the issue.

“We have to figure out where we are and this is going to be an important conversation to have this summer for where Indiana moves,” Bray said.

Indiana Senate Candidate Smokes Joint In Video For Cannabis Legalization Campaign

Other politicians in Indiana seem to be on the same legalization page. For example, just one day before the cannabis holiday (4/20), Indiana Senate candidate Thomas McDermott released his marijuana legalization ad online.

RELATED: Politicians Smoking Weed To Get Elected — Is This The Cool New Trend?

The video starts with McDermott lighting something that looks like a joint and smoking it. To promote the ad, the mayor of Hammond tweeted the following:

McDermott is expected to compete with incumbent Republican Sen. Todd Young in November.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.





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Indiana Lawmakers Divided Over Marijuana Legalization Ahead Of 2023 Session

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By Jelena Martinovic

Earlier this year, regulators in Indiana agreed that more research on the potential health benefits and decriminalization of cannabis is required before taking any legislative action. Now, lawmakers have moved from words to deeds.

On Tuesday, the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services hosted a discussion on whether the state should consider legalizing medical or recreational marijuana. Lawmakers from both chambers and parties as well as health officials joined the meeting which saw roughly four hours of testimony on various aspects of marijuana policy, reported FOX59.

“This seems to be an issue that we’ve kind of demonized,” said Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), vice chair of the summer study committee. “And by doing that, we’ve never had a real discussion.”

While cannabis advocates made a strong case when laying out arguments for cannabis reform, most criticisms came from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, reported WISH-TV.

legal illegal marijuana
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“There was a comment made that legalized states are seeing lower overdose rates. That’s just not the case,” Legislative Counsel Brock Patterson said. “So my point is if you want it regulated, give me an example of where it’s been done right and I can’t find one where, wholesale, it’s done right.”

RELATED: Former Senator Says Indiana Is Exploring Legal Weed, But Not For Economic Benefits

Mike Ripley, a vice president for health care policy and employment law at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, had a similar take on marijuana legalization.

“Pre-COVID, post-COVID, the highest priority for Indiana employers is identifying individuals to fill vacant positions, and secondly, finding candidates that can pass a drug test,” Ripley said.

RELATED: Cannabis Legalization On Hold In Indiana — Here’s Why

Bryan Hannon of the American Cancer Society wants to see smoking marijuana in public banned, as it “unnecessarily exposes non-marijuana users to health risks.”

Meanwhile, lawmakers did not decide on any legislative action, which is more likely to happen during the 2023 session. Until then, lawmakers plan to consult experts and take public testimony on THC issues.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.



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Indiana lawmakers to discuss cannabis this summer – Cannabis Business Executive

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Cannabis Legalization On Hold In Indiana — Here’s Why

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By Jelena Martinovic

Indiana lawmakers agreed that more research on the potential health benefits and decriminalization of THC products — including marijuana, Delta-8 and Delta-9 — is needed before any legislative action is further taken, reported KPVI.

The General Assembly’s Legislative Council overwhelmingly supported the idea to task the interim study committee on public health, behavioral health and human services with reviewing the issue further.

marijuana legalization
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RELATED: Delaware Gov. Vetoes Marijuana Legalization Bill Despite Passing Both Houses

With legislative action anticipated during the 2023 session, the task force will consult experts and take public testimony on THC issues. In addition, several meetings are expected to be held this summer or fall.

“It’s a way to look at it comprehensively and what should be the policy of the state of Indiana,” said House Speaker Todd Huston (R), chairman of the Legislative Council. “There definitely is more study needed around Delta 8 and Delta 9.”

The study committee’s recommendation would be considered as strictly advisory, leaving the final decision to legalize cannabis to the full General Assembly.

Indiana Senate Candidate Smokes Joint In Video For Cannabis Legalization Campaign

Just one day before the unofficial cannabis holiday of 4/20, Indiana Senate candidate and mayor of Hammond, Thomas McDermott released his cannabis legalization ad online, with a video of himself lighting up a joint and smoking it.

RELATED: Politicians Smoking Weed To Get Elected — Is This The Cool New Trend?

In addition to openly smoked weed, McDermott tweeted: “Even on #420day, not many Senate candidates admit to having smoked weed. I’ve been thinking a lot about whether to launch this video where I light up. It’s an issue that’s personal & important to me & so many.#LegalizeIt”

McDermott is expected to compete with incumbent Republican Sen. Todd Young in November.

This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.





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