I don't think re-legalization of Marijuana in Indiana, or across the country for that matter, is that far off. While we may make only marginal progress this year, we are setting the stage for legislative acceptance of change.
Indiana has always been shy when it comes to change. Seemingly, we never lead the nation in areas where the average American benefits, in terms of personal freedom or liberty. But we certainly do act quickly on restricting freedoms, such as in the support of the Indiana's privatized prison system.
The biggest obstacle to re-legalization of Marijuana in Indiana is the conglomeration of industries that have vested interests in prohibition, and the politicians they control. These are organizations like the private prisons, huge pharmaceutical companies and police unions and “Drug free” organizations. They all like to spin information to their favor, regardless of the truth of the matter.
There are over 23 thousand studies available that show Marijuana's safety and efficacy. You can read many of them here. Another good source is the U.S. Government's “Pub med” site. Universities throughout the world, most notably Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the University of Spain and others, have broken much new ground over the years in Cannabis research. There is no lack of solid science in proving Marijuana is good medicine. Research from American institutions is a fairly recent concept due to bans on Marijuana research or malfeasant control over quality of plant material to be studied.
A recent article in NUVO puts forth a good bit of misinformation about Marijuana, particularly when it comes to the results of re-legalization in, most notably, Colorado. There are some problems, which are to be expected in the creation of an entire new entity. Yes, some people have been hurt in making their own concentrates because they didn't follow proper procedures. There are cases of ingesting too much Cannabis from edibles due to improper dosage control and labeling. One can not die from ingesting too much Marijuana, and no one did. There will be push and pull as details are worked out. Colorado is pioneering this industry, and making great progress. As a result of the over ingestions, better labeling of medibles is a reality as well as better dosing regulations.
Legalization in Colorado has made it much harder for children to get Marijuana. Crime is down in Colorado. Drug cartels are seeing a 30% drop in profits. For more, see this article in Forbes magazine. Traffic fatalities? Looks like a drop.
Most of the problems seen in Indiana from Marijuana comes from the prohibition of it, not from use of the plant itself. We know there are many medical uses. The Veteran's Administration has approved Marijuana use for treatment of PTSD in the states that have legalized medicinal use. The U.S. Government holds several patents on Cannabis components. As part of the “Cromnibus” spending bill, DEA funding for attacking dispensaries in legal states was curtailed.
And you want to know about the economics of re-legalization? Read this piece. This doesn't even mention the first Cannabis credit union formed to handle banking for dispensaries, forbidden from using banks due to federal regulations.
And what about employment? Details on that here.
Re-legalization of Marijuana is inevitable, both here in Indiana and across the nation. Indiana would be far wiser to establish good law with proper quality regulation than to put off the inevitable or sponsor bad law.
Oh, and Speaker Bosma: The “Gateway theory” has been soundly disproven for several years. Please let us know and we'll be happy to update you.
Chairman, Indiana NORML
(Indiana Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)