STATEHOUSE — State lawmakers will again take up the discussion of legalizing pot in Indiana when they convene for a short legislative session in two weeks.
As part of a glimpse into what that discussion may entail, a panel of bipartisan lawmakers and experts on the matter talked about what they would like to see marijuana legislation look like.
One of the experts on the panel was Matt Roman, a lawyer who specializes in marijuana and works for a cannabis company in Michigan where recreational pot has been legal since 2019. He offered some insight into what Indiana’s legislation should look like should lawmakers ultimately decide to legalize it.
“We have a good tax rate,” Roman said of Michigan’s pot laws. “10-percent. You want to hit the tax rate correctly otherwise it’s going to fuel the illicit market. Out seed to sale system is very good. We’ve done a good job of not monopolizing the market. We have big and small players.”
Roman added that licensing has been separated out very well insofar as one company cannot hold multiple types of marijuana licenses such as for growing, shipping, and selling.
These are all things the State Sen. J.D. Ford (D-Indianapolis) feels that Indiana needs to have figured out now.
“At any moment the federal government could act on this,” Ford said. “If we don’t take some sort of issue, take this up next session, then we are behind already.”
Ford criticizes Republicans for taking a “wait and see” approach with the marijuana issue. Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) has said in the past that he wants the federal government, namely the FDA and CDC, to act on pot first.
State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) has been one Republican spearheading the push to legalize pot. He says it’s “mindboggling” why more members of his caucus have not backed his efforts.
“This issue polls higher than anything else we’ve ever seen,” said Lucas. “And why the Republicans party, I’m throwing party politics in here, why the Republican party doesn’t run with this is beyond me.”
Lucas said many of the Hoosiers he’s talked to use pot as a way to cope with physical pain or mental issues that they have, especially when it comes to war veterans having trouble sleeping. He says Hoosiers who use pot in these ways are “tired of feeling like criminals.”