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Medical marijuana debate heating up as lawmaker plans to introduce legislation next session

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Legalizing marijuana in Indiana is already a hot button issue a state lawmaker wants to put on the floor in January. But before Representative Jim Lucas (R-District 69) can even get a bill drafted, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council came out swinging saying no way.

"We feel like there's a lot of if you will dishonesty in the medical aspect of it. If you really research that and look at that at legitimate medical organizations there really aren't any that support marijuana as medicine," said David Powell, executive secretary for the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council.

The council sent a letter to the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Use. The prosecutors outlined key reasons why they believe legalizing marijuana is bad for Hoosiers. They believe it would increase the risk of opioid abuse, hurt the workforce and--perhaps most debatable--they say it's not medicine.

"It may or not be deemed medicine. All I know is this natural plant derived substance gave me back my life. I feel like chronically ill people have suffered enough. It's a miserable existence," said Heather Allen a chronic pain sufferer.

Allen suffered a traumatic brain injury after falling 25 feet from the bleachers during a band competition 15 years ago. She was left with two neurological disorders and chronic pain. After years of deadend treatments, a friend told her about hemp oil derived from a marijuana plant. She gave it a try.

"In just within a day or two a lot of my symptoms just started to improve. My tremors, physical pain and the longer I was on it, the better and better I started feeling. My anxiety, my depression, my PTSD from the actual fall itself," Allen said.

For the first time, the former 911 dispatcher is able to get out of bed and even walk her service dog. Lucas says these are the people he's fighting for when he introduces legislation to legalize marijuana in January.

"We're discovering the benefits of it and we're seeing it and anecdotal evidence, I know the prosecutors used that term, but it works. We have people out there that marijuana is helping and we have an obligation to at least let them try it," Lucas said.

Indiana’s Commission to Combat Drug Use meets this Thursday to talk about the state’s drug epidemic.