INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Some Indiana lawmakers are pushing to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.
Senate Democratic Chair Karen Tallian and State Sen. Greg Taylor presented two proposals that would prevent Hoosiers who possess small amounts of marijuana from being arrested and going to jail.
“We are well behind the times in the State of Indiana when it comes to cannabis,” Sen. Tallian said. “It’s time to allow debate and public input on this matter, and it is time we catch up with our neighbors. In 2018 and 2019, there were over 22,000 arrests yearly for possession of small amounts of marijuana. There is no justification for this.”
Tallian’s proposal would reduce the penalty for possession of less than one ounce of marijuana to an infraction on the first offense. Possession of marijuana would still be considered illegal and violators could face citations and fines, according to Tallian.
Sen. Taylor’s proposal, SB 86, would provide a defense for possession of less than two ounces of marijuana if the person “has an authorized prescription for medical marijuana or has been certified by a physician for treatment with marijuana.”
In September, the Marion County prosecutor announced he would no longer prosecute simple marijuana cases.
Tallian said lawmakers should “lean into” that decision and take action in the same way.
The Governor has expressed his opposition to any legislation that would legalize marijuana. He says he is sympathetic to those who may need marijuana for medical purposes, but believes more research is necessary before the state would consider legalizing medical marijuana.
The bills are being heard on Tuesday, Jan. 28.