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Medical marijuana may soon be legalized in Indiana

Staff Writer

Published: Monday, February 28, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 14:03

Medical Marijuana

Courtesy of: tokeofthetown.com

Across America, there has been an ever growing movement to legalize the drug cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, for both medical and recreational use. While the movement seemed to be going nowhere but to jail for decades, in recent years many pro-marijuana regulations, especially those regarding medical marijuana use, have been signed into effect all over the country. Indiana remains one of the states that outright prohibits the use or possession of marijuana, even to those who have medical marijuana cards issued by other states. The question is, is Indiana ready for a change in marijuana policy?

Ashley Henderson, a senior at IU South Bend, agrees with the principles of medical marijuana, but isn't convinced that a policy legalizing its use would work out so well.

"If a patient has a legitimate need for marijuana for medicinal purposes, I don't think they should be denied of the use," said Henderson. "But I think there needs to be a serious overhaul of the legal system to make sure that it doesn't get into the wrong hands. I don't think we, as a state, are ready for it just yet."

Chris Washington, also a senior at IUSB is familiar with the idea of medical marijuana legalization, as he wrote a persuasive speech on it for his speech class at IUSB.

 "I believe that all states will eventually turn towards allowing medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. With the popularity of (California attempted legalization law) Proposition 19, more and more states will follow suit and will try to pass bills similar to that of California's Proposition 19. It will eventually become a reality."

Medical marijuana and laws regarding the possession of the use of marijuana have been debated ever since they first appeared. While the first federal level prohibition of marijuana was put into effect in 1937, the first state-wide prohibition law that criminalized the possession and cultivation of hemp was passed in 1913 by California. Ironically, California would become the first state to allow the use of medical marijuana, when 56% of voters in the state approved Proposition 215 in 1996. The law removed the state penalties on the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for those who have documented or verbal recommendation from a physician that marijuana would benefit their health.

Since 1996, 15 states have passed laws allowing the regulated use of medical marijuana. There is still a legal limit to how much marijuana you are allowed to possess and cultivate at a time under these laws. Certain cities have even passed medical marijuana laws even though their states have not, most interestingly including the nation's capital, the District of Columbia (D.C.).   In California, Proposition 19, which would have legalized (to an extent) the recreational use of marijuana, was defeated by a small margin of 53.5% to 46.6% on November 2, 2010. But just a month earlier on October 1, 2010, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation to reduce the penalty of possession for an ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to an infraction. In Alaska, possession of up to an ounce, by anyone, is legally tolerated.

So with many parts of the country starting to shift in favor of decriminalizing marijuana, especially medical marijuana, how long will it be before Indiana jumps aboard the ship? Or would a medical marijuana bill proposed in Indiana end up sinking like an anchor? Within the last few weeks, a new Indiana bill has been blowing wind into the medical marijuana sails.

Introducing Indiana Senate Bill 192. Proposed by Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes), the bill received its initial hearing on February 15. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, "S.B. 192 will require the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee to evaluate Indiana's marijuana laws, discuss alternatives, and make recommendations on: (1) what the appropriate marijuana possession penalties should be (if any), (2) whether and how to implement a medical marijuana program, and (3) whether marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol."

On February 21, the bill was passed in the state senate by a vote of 28 to 21. The next step in the process will be for S.B. 192 to be heard by a committee in the Indiana House. If the House decides to acknowledge the bill, the Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee will spend time over the next year looking into what laws regarding the criminalization of marijuana and possible use of medical marijuana should be reformed.

Dante Decanini, a former IUSB student, supports the bill, and believes it shows great political progress. "I think that would be a step in the right direction. The benefits of medical marijuana use are evident and I believe crime rates in South Bend would be significantly less staggering if minor possession was decriminalized," said Decanini. In regards to decriminalization, Decanini is very outspoken. "Somebody minding their own business and causing no harm does not need to be sent to jail for possessing a minimal amount of what already grows naturally from the ground."

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9 comments

Anonymous
Fri Apr 19 2013 00:28
Cannabis, as the GOOD DOCTOR states, helps people who're ILL and fighting everyday PAIN. Not a day goes by I'm not without aches and pain; sad thing is I KNOW cannabis would HELP ME SO MUCH. I have many health issues, which include, but are not limited to, Lupus and spinal nerve damage that anguish me every day. I haven't been able to wear a shoe since June 25, 2012! I bet if someone in office here in Indiana wouldn't want to see their loved one HURTING badly. I bet they would help to get that BILL PASSED!!!! Maybe we need to do like my age people did in the 60's and 70's, protest -- smoke a little, let them see we aren't crazy like they all think we are. Hell, I bet some of them in the day smoked. Problem, they just won't say they did. They want to keep those seats they have in Indy. PEOPLE, please, BELIEVE ME when I say this -- I know it sounds crazy, but it's NOT. So many of you on this page aren't probably OLD ENOUGH to remember FREE T.V. THINK, BIG BROTHER CAN NOW LOOK IN ON OUR EVERY MOVE!!!! They come into our HOMES by way of televisions; this is not far fetched. Think what our government's capable of, the things we don't know because they keep it tight-lipped. There are things in the cable lines that let BIG BROTHER WATCH YOU, me, everyone!!! Be careful!! But back to BUD, it could HELP so many of us -- I hate taking prescrition medications, they aren't PURE. Look how many folks who now have problems from these man-made DRUGS, PLEASE. They are pills of death!!! I imagine some of those in INDY have smoked, they just won't admit it because they don't want to lose their seats in office. Come on people maybe we should get on a BUS AND GO TO INDY!!! Smoke a little and let them see how our pain goes away. Come on Senators show a little CARE for your people here in the state of Indiana -- or they just may vote you out of that nice little office you have. THINK about it. So many states have allowed the use of medical marijuana. Illinois passed that bill on April 16 or 17. Indiana's losing LOTS of TAX money. Help us. Me, I can't smoke, my husband's one of those "good ole boys" from down south. He told me if I ever smoked illegally, he'd leave. I've been married 38 years, and early into my marriage I was diagnosed with several illnesses to which I've suffered continually through years of terrible pain. Please HELP Me and those of us who suffer. I'm unable to move for long periods of time. In one chapter of my life I weighed 130 now, 222 due to my inability to walk because of my lupus and nerve damage. I like so many others need help. When life becomes unbearable due to illnesses, our minds tempt us with solutions to end our suffering. HELP ME, PLEASE, BECAUSE I CAN'T STAND THE PAIN ANY LONGER, AND IT MAKES ME SAD. LIFE'S BEEN PASSING ME BY FOR THE LONGEST. BLESSINGS TO ALL, MAY GOD and MOTHER EARTH step in to help us, the needy. GOD put the plant here and MOTHER EARTH helped it GROW! GROW, BABY, GROW for the many of us who need it. I'm the voice of MANY who are scared to write, BECAUSE many of the BIG BROTHERS watching, might be you, but I'm without fear so I write this. If you care about the American citizens who're suffering illnesses, infants, youths, young adults, the old, the elderly, then help us.
Help INDIANA pass a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
THANK YOU.
Anonymous
Mon Feb 11 2013 13:35
@Kimi frankly you deserved to be in jail. If you had just followed the law, you wouldn't have any problems.
Anonymous
Wed Jun 6 2012 12:27
I am keeping my fingers crossed for leglization! My husband has a degenerative back disease that causes him unbearable pain daily. He is on so many different main medications that have horrible side effects. It is a constant worry about his health with these medications side effects causing liver damage, kidney failure, uncotrollable mood swings, etc....not to mention the damage his condition causes itself. I would love for him to be able to take something natural that has proven health benefits. This is a great article. Keeping my hopes up..
Digi
Fri May 6 2011 07:31
very nice article. everyone should get behind the movement, this will happen one way or another!
Anonymous
Sun Mar 20 2011 10:22
It's nice that your talking to students, but I think you should have also consulted some of the health faculty on campus about the benefits...
Anonymous
Thu Mar 3 2011 13:18
Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child thrown in jail with the sexual predators for using a little marijuana. None of us would want to see our parent's home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants to ease the aches and pains of growing older. It's time to stop putting our own families in jail. It's time to let ordinary Americans grow a little marijuana in their own back yards, and it's nice to see our culture coming to terms with this in a more wholesome fashion. This will go a long way toward putting the criminal drug gangs out of business for good!
Leonard Krivitsky, MD
Wed Mar 2 2011 08:28
Good for Indiana! Cannabis prohibition is doomed to failure, as it is based on a series of total "un-realities", which no amount of repression can make "real". Cannabis is NOT physically addictive as it lacks a documented physical withdrawal syndrome, the so-called "gateway drug theory discredited as invalid, much touted by the DEA drug Marinol is not at all the same as medicinal cannabis, smoking Cannabis does not increase the risk of lung cancer, and cannabis use suppresses violent behavior. These are REALITIES! To further say that Cannabis plant does not have medicinal properties is simply delusional and is a complete "break" with "reality". If anti-Cannabis repression by the DEA and its allies were to be intensified, the rate of alcohol, cocaine, opiates, other hard drugs, alcohol, and dangerous prescription drugs would increase sharply. Neither the DEA, not its minions can make people perceive Cannabis as "unsafe", where is in reality it is quite safe, much safer than alcohol and other alternatives. With the rise of the use of alcohol/hard drugs, the amount of violence and mayhem in this society will also rise, something that every mother and wife should consider. In these hard economic times our so-called "representatives" do not even dare talking about cutting the bloated DEA budget, especially its so-called "marijuana" enforcement, while they are willing to discuss cutting everything else. This is because the DEA and its minions are very good with attaching labels, and no one wants to risk being "labeled" as "soft on drugs"! The employment drug tests have a potential of "screening out" "Picassos", and Lady GaGa's, and Willie Nelsons, but letting people like Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson slip through (if the employers are "lucky"). And to say that Cannabis Plant does not have medicinal properties is simply delusional! Cannabis prohibition, as based on glaring scientific and philosophical "un-realities" and can never succeed in the long run!
Anonymous
Wed Mar 2 2011 08:25
Cannabis prohibition is doomed to failure, as it is based on a series of total "un-realities", which no amount of repression can make "real". Cannabis is NOT physically addictive as it lacks a documented physical withdrawal syndrome, the so-called "gateway drug theory discredited as invalid, much touted by the DEA drug Marinol is not at all the same as medicinal cannabis, smoking Cannabis does not increase the risk of lung cancer, and cannabis use suppresses violent behavior. These are REALITIES! To further say that Cannabis plant does not have medicinal properties is simply delusional and is a complete "break" with "reality". If anti-Cannabis repression by the DEA and its allies were to be intensified, the rate of alcohol, cocaine, opiates, other hard drugs, alcohol, and dangerous prescription drugs would increase sharply. Neither the DEA, not its minions can make people perceive Cannabis as "unsafe", where is in reality it is quite safe, much safer than alcohol and other alternatives. With the rise of the use of alcohol/hard drugs, the amount of violence and mayhem in this society will also rise, something that every mother and wife should consider. In these hard economic times our so-called "representatives" do not even dare talking about cutting the bloated DEA budget, especially its so-called "marijuana" enforcement, while they are willing to discuss cutting everything else. This is because the DEA and its minions are very good with attaching labels, and no one wants to risk being "labeled" as "soft on drugs"! The employment drug tests have a potential of "screening out" "Picassos", and Lady GaGa's, and Willie Nelsons, but letting people like Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson slip through (if the employers are "lucky"). And to say that Cannabis Plant does not have medicinal properties is simply delusional! Cannabis prohibition, as based on glaring scientific and philosophical "un-realities" and can never succeed in the long run!
Kimi
Wed Mar 2 2011 00:49
its about time the legal world quit controlling medical world. at the age of 32 ibegan smoking for medicinal purposes and since i have been incarcerated for 6 mos because of this!




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