(WXIN/WTTV) — Ohio’s decision to legalize recreational marijuana this week is catching the attention of Indiana lawmakers, several of whom say the Hoosier State is behind the curve.
Others, however, say more time is needed before any decisions are set in stone.
Ohio’s vote comes roughly a week after an Indiana legislative committee could not come to a consensus on any recommendations for regulating marijuana.
”I haven’t seen any real movement on this issue,” State Rep. Matt Pierce said.
According to Rep. Pierce, both a recreational and a medical marijuana legalization bill will most likely be introduced to the General Assembly next session. However, the representative said that it’s unclear whether or not any marijuana-focused bill will even make it out of committee.
”I think that perhaps when the legislators see that, you know, a large number of people from our state are going to our surrounding states to get the product, they might decide it’s maybe better to actually have a regulated system here in Indiana as well,” Rep. Pierce said. ”I wouldn’t be surprised if maybe they had yet another hearing, but then said, but we’re not ready to move on legislation, and put it off for yet another year.”
Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter said marijuana legalization in surrounding states creates additional challenges for law enforcement, and that he’s proud of the position the General Assembly and Gov. Eric Holcomb have taken on this issue.
”It’s hugely, hugely complicated,” Carter said. ”It seems to me like there’s not really a whole lot of desire and appetite to address it in the upcoming session, but I do hope that you know, we continue this conversation…I think until the federal government says, ‘Now, this is not going to be a scheduled drug anymore’, that we are in the right place.”
State Sen. Rodney Pol said one bill he’s filling would legalize recreational marijuana for Hoosiers over the age of 21 if passed.
”If I didn’t think it had a chance at all, I wouldn’t file it,” Sen. Pol said. “I have to hold out hope that our, you know that this conversation is getting closer and closer to actual movement on it.”
Ohio’s decision means every one of Indiana’s neighboring states has approved marijuana legalization either medically or recreationally, although Kentucky’s medical marijuana law does not go into effect until January 1, 2025.