Advocates for legalizing marijuana in Indiana, optimistic about progress

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Marijuana use in Indiana is still illegal, though, on the eve of every pot smoker’s favorite day, many advocates for legalizing marijuana in Indiana are optimistic that progress is being made on that front.

Tomorrow is April 20th, also known as 4/20, in pot smoking culture or “Weed Day.”

Marijuana enthusiasts cannot partake in any celebrations of 4/20 legally in Indiana. Still, advocates like former Indianapolis State Sen. Jim Merritt are bullish on their pursuits to persuade lawmakers to join the other 37 states that have legalized pot in some capacity.

“Indiana is missing the tax money (from pot), but also Indiana is missing the economic development opportunities,” Merritt told Indy Politics. “In Indiana, what we should do is have a two-year study. It took four years to study gaming in the 1980s. It took a couple years to study alcohol on Sundays.”

Both of the latter are now legal in Indiana.

But, Merritt is not short-sighted on legitimate hang-ups on the matter. Gov. Eric Holcomb has said time and again that he would prefer to wait until pot is legal on the federal level before legalizing it here in Indiana. Merritt said for many others, it comes down to enforcement of laws for people driving while high.

For law enforcement, it is a lot more difficult to test someone for impaired driving while high on pot as compared to testing someone for driving drunk.

“I’m not sure in the coming years if we are going to be able to mainstream that and find out exactly how someone’s impaired like they do with alcohol,” Merritt said. “There has got to be some way we can test DNA at a traffic stop to see if someone’s impaired.”

Right now, the closest law enforcement can get to quickly testing for impaired driving while high is a blood test that can still take a while to come back.

Merritt calls all these concerns “roadblocks” to overcome because he believes legal marijuana in Indiana is going to happen sooner rather than later.

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