Democrats pushing to legalize marijuana in Indiana

Possession of marijuana in Indiana is currently punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

INDIANAPOLIS — NOTE: The above video is on the legality of delta-8 in Indiana.

The Indiana Democratic Party will be pushing for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in Indiana in the next legislative session. Democrats point to polls that show nearly 80 percent of Hoosiers agree with legalizing the use of marijuana for medical, recreation or both. Those numbers have only increased in polling over the years.

Possession of marijuana in Indiana is currently punishable by up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine. Prior convictions or possession of larger amounts of marijuana can increase jail time to a year or more. Michigan, Illinois and Ohio have all legalized marijuana in some form.

“Hoosiers have seen the impact that recreational and medicinal cannabis use has made on the states around us, and not only are they contributing to neighboring states’ economies, Indiana is now on the verge of losing out altogether,” said Mike Schmuhl, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “The Republican supermajority at the Statehouse is losing its economic common sense if they do not join Democrats this session in making this opportunity a winner for the Hoosier State,” said Schmuhl.

RELATED: Indiana attorney general candidate and Marion County prosecutor discuss legalizing marijuana

In 2019, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced it would not prosecute “simple marijuana” charges. Hundreds of cases have been dismissed for people picked up for having an ounce or less of marijuana.

Prosecutor Ryan Mears issued the following statement Monday on the Democrats’ push to legalize marijuana in the state:

The continued criminalization of marijuana increases racial disparities in our criminal justice system and limits economic opportunities. The decision by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office to no longer prosecute simple possession of marijuana cases has saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and has kept low-level and non-violent offenders out of our legal system.

Indiana Democrats also believe legalizing marijuana with create jobs and be a boost to the economy.

RELATED: Marijuana is illegal in Indiana, but the rules around delta-8 are more hazy

“Marijuana is a really popular issue, and a large majority of Hoosiers want to see this get done. Democrats are ready to take the lead on this effort because it’s a win-win for Indiana, and it’ll fulfill the party’s consistent promise of creating a better future for Hoosier families. It’s time to legalize recreational cannabis across Indiana,” Schmuhl said.

Democrats and some Republicans have made many attempts at legalizing marijuana in the past. They have failed. 

Gov. Eric Holcomb has also voiced his opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. He has also continued to oppose medical marijuana saying in the past that he would not approve it without more research.

Indiana does allow the sale of CBD products and allow farmers to commercially grow and process hemp.

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