2 Medical Marijuana Bills Filed in Indiana

January 22, 2015

Two Democratic lawmakers have filed bills that would allow the use of medical marijuana in Indiana, although neither measure is likely to advance in the Republican-controlled legislature.

Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage and Rep. Sue Errington of Muncie are sponsoring bills that would allow Indiana residents to use marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s recommendation.

Errington’s bill would allow people with conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease to use cannabis for treatment. But Errington said her bill has been assigned to the House Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee, where it’s unlikely to get a hearing.

“Bills that go there usually don’t come back out,” Errington told The Star Press. “I would like it to at least get a hearing, so people could come and tell their stories – patients and physicians and others.”

Errington said she’s heard from constituents who are suffering from chronic pain and seizures and would like to use medical marijuana to ease their ailments.

Tallian’s bill would create a new state department that would oversee a program for those who use marijuana for treatment. She has long fought for legalization, but two bills she wrote over the past two years died without a hearing in the Senate, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Joe Losco, a Ball State University political science professor, said he doesn’t see either bill “going anywhere” in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

“It’s certainly not part of the Republican agenda this session, and I think Republicans would see it as taking away from the consensus of their caucus,” he told The Star Press. “In other states, it’s come in piecemeal, first through medical marijuana legalization, then decriminalization.”

Congress passed a spending bill last month that would end federal raids in states where medical marijuana is legal. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana in some fashion.

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