Indiana lawmakers won’t vote whether to legalize pot this session

For the first time ever, lawmakers heard testimony during a legislative session both for and against legalizing pot.

A hearing of the Indiana House Courts and Criminal Code committee is the first committee to consider a bill to legalize pot in some capacity in Indiana. However, that is as far as the matter will go this session as State Rep. Wendy McNamara, who chairs the committee, said that she would not be bringing the bill back up for a vote this session.

Before that decision was made, the committee heard testimony from many different people and organizations with a stake in the subject legal pot.

“It’s time that Indiana joins all of its neighboring states,”said State Rep Heath VanNatter (R-Kokomo) who authored the bill. “Every state around us has some form of legalization – Ohio and Kentucky have medical and Illinois and Michigan have recreational.”

His bill would remove criminal penalties for people who are caught with 2 ounces of pot or less.

Dr. Richard Feldman, Indiana’s former state health commissioner, even spoke in favor of the bill.

“Marijuana is not a hard drug,” Dr. Feldman said. “It’s not a narcotic and certainly safer than alcohol and tobacco.”

There were those in opposition to the bill who spoke. Barbara Rosenberg, who is legal counsel for Indiana State Police, said there are many concerns about it from the law enforcement community.

“There’s still concerns about anyone having access to this if you can grow this product in your backyard or have that ability,” she said. “And with that comes the concern that there will be enhanced use prior to driving on our roads.”

Others, like the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, are concerned that the bill makes things confusing regarding how to approach drug testing of workers by employers.

In the end, VanNatter said he got some good feedback on the bill and plans to re-introduce it in next year’s legislative session with some tweaks.

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Thomas Hryck February 17, 2023 at 7:18 am

I wonder what the state would make if they legalized pot? Surely that money could help out. I guess they think we don’t need any additional income, just raise taxes. Property tax is coming up, seniors and working class people could use a break.

Charles U Farley February 17, 2023 at 9:14 am

There is no functional difference between banning pot and banning 16oz sodas, or even mandating the fake vaccines! Either we have control of what we choose to put into our own bodies, or we do not.

RINO politicians seem to be just fine with government control infringing on the freedoms of the people, as long as it is THEIR government control.

robin Phillips February 17, 2023 at 5:11 pm

It is the public vote that the Politian’s are worried about, they don’t want to vote yea or nay, because they want to be able to get voted in. It is not what is right for the people anymore. It is what is right for the Politian’s future and money in their pockets for long term.

Adam February 18, 2023 at 11:17 am

In the state of Indiana a person over the age of 21, can legally buy enough alcohol to fill up a swimming pool. Cannabis is far less worse than alcohol or tobacco. People die everyday from alcohol and cigarette smoking related illnesses in the United States. Stop making Indiana a backward state by keeping cannabis a crime.

Remember not to drive a motor vehicle after engaging in alcohol or cannabis use.


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