Medical marijuana getting growing support from Republicans in Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana chapter of NORML held a town hall meeting Saturday to educate the public about medical marijuana and Indiana Republican Representative Jim Lucas came out in strong support of the initiative.

"It’s not a Republican or Democrat thing. Liberal or conservative. This is a human rights issue," Lucas said. “We’ve seen the proof that it works. We heard personal testimony from people who have personally benefited from this product and I’m for it 100 percent.”

Lucas was one of several people that addressed the crowd at the Indiana State Library Saturday afternoon and  was joined by his colleague across the aisle, Democratic Representative Sue Errington, who represents Muncie.

“Up to now it’s mostly been Democratic voices and we’re a minority in the Indiana Statehouse so to have someone come out as strongly as Representative Lucas has, it’s really great to have a partner to  who wants to work with those of us who have been in the trenches," Rep. Errington said.

The push for the legalization of medical marijuana will face strong opposition including from Indiana's Attorney General Curtis Hill,  but Lucas said he believes with the climate of the current opioid epidemic, increasing public support and an increased amount of data on medical marijuana he could sway his fellow Republicans.

“If ever there was a time, now is it. The planets are aligned. When you look there are 30 some other states that have this. The opioid issue has been declared an epidemic. We are handing out needles to try and stem it. Like I said earlier. People are dying. Families are being torn apart by it and those are prescription drugs," Lucas said.

"I think things are moving in the right direction hopefully fast enough we can have something passed next session," Errington said.

Both lawmakers said they are currently working on legislation for next session dealing with the legalization of medical marijuana as well as an educational campaign for their fellow lawmakers.

"We have to quit listening to the fear mongering, the ignorance, the people who just don’t know, but for whatever reason they have been scared of this issue for a long, long time," Lucas said. "They are afraid to move forward. I’m hoping to help break that bubble  and if it takes a conservative Republican to make that happen, I’m happy to be the one."