Indiana lawmaker to file bill lifting ban on medicinal marijuana

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (December 17, 2014)  – Is medicinal marijuana in Indiana's future? One Indiana lawmaker certainly hopes so.

As lawmakers are fine-tuning their proposals for the upcoming session, State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) said she’s filed a bill that would make the drug legal for medical use.

“It sets up the get-out-of jail free card for medical,” she said. “If you have a note from your doctor, and you apply for a card, you get the card, you can have possession of a certain amount of marijuana.”

She also made clear her plans to push for the legalization of marijuana in the Hoosier state.

“For this upcoming session, I have a bill ready to file to legalize medical marijuana. I am ready and eager to get to work after this last major federal obstacle has been lifted.”

Sen. Tallian represents Senate District 4 which encompasses portions of northern Porter County and Michigan, Coolspring and New Durham townships in LaPorte County.

“I think there is a really strong attitude among a lot of people that at least we should allow this for medical use,” Tallian said. “So I'm hoping that I have some sympathy among my legislators."

Tucked away in the federal spending bill Congress passed over the weekend is a provision that ends the federal government’s ban on medical marijuana in states where it’s legal.

The National Conference of State Legislatures reports 23 states allow comprehensive medical marijuana programs. But the Drug Enforcement Agency still classifies the narcotic as dangerous, saying it shouldn’t be used medically.

And that grabs the attention of some Indiana republicans who control the Statehouse.

"For me the issue is not an issue of budget or case or those things,” State Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said. “I think the issue needs to be decided on the merits of whether it's advisable for us to proceed in that direction. I'm a skeptic in that regards, but I'll leave open a little room for Sen. Tallian to try to persuade me."

Last session, Tallian tried pushing a bill that would have reduced penalties for marijuana use statewide. The bill didn't receive a hearing.

Tallian said garnering Republican support will be needed for her latest proposal.

“I’m working on it,” she said. “I can’t make a commitment until they do.”

Top republicans, who could influence or call hearings on the measure, said it’s too early to comment, and Gov. Mike Pence’s office said the governor wouldn't weight in on the issue yet, either.

For more information on Sen. Tallian, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or click here.

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