STATEHOUSE –– Legalizing marijuana for medical use in Indiana was not on Gov. Holcomb’s list of priorities for this year’s legislative session. But, legislators can file bills regardless of whether the governor plans to make them part of his agenda. Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), has filed a bill to make medical cannabis legal.
“We now have concrete evidence from accredited medical associations that talk about the efficacy of cannabis for certain acute problems that we have in our communities,” said Taylor, “things like anxiety, pain, things that have to do with people having the ability to socialize together. It cuts down on that social anxiety.”
The bill (SB 231) is aimed at veterans and other people who use marijuana for medical purposes and who drive to other states to get it.
“Quite frankly, we have 36 states that have some form of cannabis legislation and Indiana is about to be sitting on an island by themselves,” he said.
But, the Republican supermajority and governor have not minded being on that island. Holcomb has said that legalization is not going to be something he considers until cannabis is legalized at the federal level. Taylor is worried that waiting could take some of the thunder out of its potential economic impact.
“If the federal government does what I think they’re gonna do and moves this to a schedule II drug, then the benefits to the state of Indiana drastically decrease because the federal government is gonna want a piece of the pie, as well.”
Moving marijuana to a Schedule II drug would mean the government considers it less dangerous, that the potential for abuse is lower than they considered in the past, and that it can be used for medical purposes. It would also mean that pharmaceutical companies would be able to take advantage of the opportunity.
“So, if we don’t take that affirmative step very soon, we’re gonna be on the precipice of the federal government moving this to Schedule II, which would then allow it to be bankable,” said Taylor, meaning businesses would be able to use federally insured banks to deposit profits from cannabis. “At that point, the sky’s the limit, because it won’t be an illegal drug.”