In the ad released online, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott, who is challenging Sen. Todd Young (R-Indiana), calls for federal legalization of the drug. The ad was filmed in Illinois, McDermott said, and was purposefully released on 4/20, a day some Americans celebrate marijuana.
McDermott is the second U.S. Senate candidate this year to be shown smoking marijuana in an online ad.
“What’s happening is a lot of our Hoosiers that are caught with this plant are getting arrested, getting thrown in jail, getting criminal records, and that’s unacceptable,” McDermott said Wednesday.
McDermott appeared at an Indianapolis news conference Wednesday as the Indiana Democratic Party kicked off a statewide tour to call for marijuana legalization.
“I’m here just speaking for myself and the other veterans that have PTSD that would like to choose a different path,” said Terry Moore, one of several Hoosier veterans who spoke to reporters.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the MORE Act earlier this month to legalize marijuana. Approval by the Senate appears unlikely.
Sen. Young’s campaign declined to comment for this story. While running for House in 2014, Young told WLKY he believes medical marijuana should be a decision left to the states.
So far, 37 states have legalized marijuana for at least medical use. Indiana isn’t one of them.
“We have to put pressure on the supermajority in the Statehouse because they’re the ones that aren’t doing it,” said Evan McMahon, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Indiana.
Several bills regarding marijuana legalization were introduced at the Statehouse this past session, but none received a committee hearing.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he won’t support legalization at the state level before marijuana is allowed under federal law.
“Even medically, it’s illegal right now from a federal perspective, and that needs to change first and foremost,” Holcomb said. “There’s a lot of other states that obviously have ignored that. I’m just not one of those people that will ignore that law.”
We reached out to Republican state legislative leaders for this story and are waiting to hear back.