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Don’t get too comfortable about that whole “smoke weed without fear of prosecution” thing just yet. The stuffed shirts of the Indiana Senate committee are working overtime to restore Marion County’s “puritanical approved” branding slogan by advancing a bill that retaliates against Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears over his decision not to prosecute for simple marijuana possession.

The bill says if a local prosecutor makes a policy decision not to prosecute certain crimes, the Indiana Attorney General can appoint a special prosecutor to do so and charge the county to pay for it.

Parvonay Stover represents the AG.

“Our stance on this is simple: if you don’t like the laws on the books, come to the Statehouse and lobby to change them,” Stover says. “Don’t just pick and choose to enforce the laws that you want to.”

While marijuana possession remains illegal at the Federal level, legitimate instances of prosecution for the ‘crime’ are increasingly rare. 

Former Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi told WIBC’s Hammer and Nigel that Senate Bill 436 is effectively a diffusion of the autonomy and discretion of county prosecutors. 

“I think what spurred the advancement of [SB 436] is a resistance to Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ blanket decision to not enforce a law that is on the books,” said Brizzi, but adding that when one considers the rise of violent crime in Marion County, marijuana possession is relatively insignificant by comparison.

“We have people getting every day,” said Brizzi. “The murder rate here has risen steadily for the last six or seven years now, and it doesn’t appear as though anyone has an effective plan to counter that increase.”

Brizzi said Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears has his priorities and the duties of his job in check.

“They have a limited amount of resources, the conviction rates in the Marion County Prosecutor’s office have not been that great, and arrests for violent crimes are down while violent crime is up,” explained Brizzi. 

The former Marion County Prosecutor acknowledged, however, that Mears’ blanket decision to not prosecute cases for marijuana possession put law enforcement in an awkward position.

“The Chief and the Mayor were a little caught off guard by Mears’ announcement last year, and they essentially said, ‘Look, we’re still going to make these arrests regardless of whether or not you choose to prosecute; you can’t tell us how to police.’”

Click below to hear Carl Brizzi’s full interview with Hammer and Nigel.